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Published: December 25th 2014
Two nights in Kahurangi are, somehow, already in the past.
Before the first night there were four hours of hiking in the afternoon heat past Flora hut, a number of shelters, streams, and waterfalls to an empty Salisbury Lodge. Then a hike up to the Tablelands summit (if a tableland (plateau) can be said to have a summit) and then back to complete the a hike round the bizarre landscape of the potholes - strange depressions where the landscape seems to be feeling the weak force of gravity a bit more than most. I have the luxury of having the (large) hut to myself again.
Before the second night there is a big day. Leaving the hut an hour later than planned, I'm on the trail by 9am. An hour of slow trudging gets me through the bush and to the bushline. Another hour and gets me to the top of Gordon's Pyramid. The views are clear to the south to Mt Arthur but a bank of cloud is swiftly approaching. But that does make for cooler walking over the next two hours as I scale a trio of ridges to reach Arthur Ridge. By the time I drop
the pack it seems wise to cover it with the (bright orange) waterproof cover before heading for the summit. Another hour and the clouds are clearing just as I reach the summit. There are two banks of cloud now, but two sides of the ranges are holding each back. To the west and the south are clear skies, to the north and the east visibility is zero.
Another hour and a collected pack gets me to Arthur hut. This was the target for tonight and it is indeed empty but a different target is distracting me. Two more hours of hiking would take me back down to Flora hut and then an hour in the wrong direction (I'll have to reverse that hour in the morning) would take me back to a little hermit's retreat I spotted the day before. I look at my feet, I stretch my legs. Muscles ache, tendons whine, ligaments whinge. I take brief stock of these and decide to hike the last two hours anyway. The two hours of extra niggling pain are more than worth it when I arrive to find that the three neatly notched corrugated iron pieces that make up the
rock bivvy that is Upper Gridiron hut is indeed empty and awaiting me.
The night and morning pass in a reverie of serenity. This is one of the most magical places I have ever stayed. Rising in the morning it feels like home. I sit for hours on the swinging bench (strung from the rock above) and it's very hard to finally walk away. A slow but calm walk out. My weariness decides against me on the option of scaling Mt Lodestone - that'll wait for next time.
Kahurangi is a truly beautiful place. I wasn't sure why I decided most of this trip would be spent there. But now I know.
Tot: 2.85s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 17; qc: 58; dbt: 0.0263s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
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