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Hiking the Heaphy Track


It rained overnight as was still a bit drizzly the next morning. We took our time packing up, and left just as the rain stopped. We had a pretty short day, and were in no real hurry.

The clouds started to clear, and we took a couple of leisurely snack breaks before we reached a strange site of a pole covered in boots and various other shoes, including an inline skate! I looked to see if there was a pair of boots I could trade for mine, but I was actually having great luck with my new hiking sneakers, and saw no reason to do a trade.

The group of 8 may have had other ideas when they reached the pole. Two of their party were suffering from some pretty bad blisters. Susan and I offered various blister remedies we had along with us. They did make it all the way to the end, so some of the stuff must have helped.

We had plenty of time to relax on the second day, and spent a bit of the time swimming and exploring the area. We started talking to John, our hut warden, and soon discovered what a small world it can be, as he used to be married to our next door neighbor in Nelson! John took us on a nature walk and we got to identify lots of native plants along the way.

Our next days walk was to be a longer one than originally planned, since we hoped to skip the next construction site, and go for a quieter hut. The party of 8 had the same idea. We'd actually started to get to know these folks and had a great time chatting with them. They told us they were JAFAs (Just Another F**ing Aucklander). But they seemed pretty harmless!

So it was nothing personal when we decided to camp that night. John had carried our tent all this way (and Susan had hauled hers), so we figured we might as well use them. The sandflies were making their presence known, and we had to cover up pretty thoroughly. The hut was wide open when we arrived and full of sandflies, so the tents also offered some shelter, provided you got the zipper closed quickly!

I'd been up each of the previous nights for a loo run, and had commented on how glorious the stars were. Despite all the light polution here in Nelson, we do have lovely starry nights. But the number of stars we could see on the Heaphy dwarfed anything we'd seen recently. It was brilliant. And while stargazing, I got to hear kiwis (the birds) calling. So this night when I got up in the wee hours for a wee, I had to wake John to get him to look at the stars. He didn't even complain - they were that spectacular!