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Published: March 22nd 2013
Rise fairly early and am leaving the hut by 9am, the sun having had a half hour to melt away any frost. Hike up to the top and along the ridge to take a few pics and allow myself to be knowingly overtaken by the needy solo Israeli who has foolishly made the hike in a poor pair of sandals and has been hinting at making the descent with me to guide him. I reach the rock slabs. No ice to worry about but a moist smear of dirty rubble lies waiting for an unwary boot. So pride goes out the window and it's the back of the wanderer's trousers that are in permanent contact with the rock as I slide down gingerly. Down-climbing the treacherous, rooty drops below I quickly catch-up to the Israeli as he slips and slides his way down the hill. Watching the clumsy stumbling before me I am tempted to laugh but am aware who will be helping him down the hill if one of these slips leads to a twisted ankle (or worse).
An hour and a half later, I bid farewell to the exhausted Israeli and run on down the path in an
effort to get some peace and solitude on my last day in the Matukituki. No matter how much fun it is, running in boots with a big pack is a bad idea of course and the inevitable twist of an ankle slows me down to a fast walk. Nothing bad but I can feel the tendons complain as I tighten the boot round my right ankle.
An hour later I'm passing Aspiring hut - take a quick picture as this hut is likely to be condemned soon. There was an earthquake a few weeks ago whose epicentre was about 6km beneath this valley and the large landslip above the hut has been rumbling recently (the valley beares many mountainside-sized scars from previous slips). The passage of a historic hut like Aspiring is sad I guess but no doubt the New Zealand Alpine Club (who own the hut) will find a safer location to build a replacement. Another hour and the wanderer is back at Raspberry Creek roadend and the long, bumpy drive back to Wanaka is all that lies between him and a very welcome shower.
The evening passes in the pleasant company of MC (DB is away
fishing). Many more tales of mountains and mountaineers shared and the odd plan for madcap expeditions discussed. We manage not to commit to anything too adventurous but the temptation is lying in wait.
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