Te Araroa South Island: Part III Arthurs Pass to Wanaka

 

This stretch was dominated by wide braided river valleys like the Rakaia and the Rangitata River and high tussock country. As the Rakaia River is a natural break in the continuum of the route  I hitched around it making a resupply stop in Christchurch where also my bounce box with new shoes was waiting. From Christchurch I booked a shuttle back to Methven where the bus driver gave me a lift to the Rakaia River Camp where I started walking again. I had no luck with getting a ride to the trailhead so I had to walk 35 km extra along the Rakaia River on mostly gravel road to get me back to the route. The walk was quite ok even with 8 days of food in my frameless pack.
When I arrived at the Rangitata River a couple of days later, the weather looked not too promising to make the crossing. A very strong storm and incoming rain made me turn back soon from the very wide riverbed. The storm was so strong that I could see sand swirling 40 meters high in the air from a far distance. It rained over night but the next morning it looked clear again and the storm was gone. The rainfall increased the water level in the river quite a bit but I did not want to spend another day so I gave it a try. When I saw the river for the first time the crossing looked impossible at the first sign. I did not even know how many arms I would have to cross. If this arm is just a small one I can not make it across the main one. I searched upstream and tried it at various spots. Stepping in, making one step after another upstream, figured out that the flow is too strong and walking back out of the river. Further upstream I finally made it with the water coming up over my hips. I stayed focused and pushed my body weight strong against the current.
On the other side the wind was stronger again and I was happy to enter the smaller valleys of the Two Thumbs Range which is leading me to Lake Tekapo and further into Twizel where I stopped for my birthday.

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The river valley leading up to high tussock country

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Sandfly bites

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Easy living, lunch break in the shade

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This picture indicates the water level at the Rangitata River crossing, not the fear of crossing it on my own

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Rangitata River

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Into the Two Thumbs Range

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Where the tall grasses wave

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Morning view out of the Stone Hut window

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Breakfast with a view over Mt. Cook NP

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Approaching the saddle

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Ridge Walk with Lake Tekapo in the distance

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Camp Stream Hut

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Sunrise after a very stormy night at Pines Camp

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Birthday Celebrations in Twizel

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There where not a lot possibilities to built a fire on the trail, recommended camp spot after Lake Ohau

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Devil in the flames

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A start into another beautiful day of walking

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See the marker pointing to the left?

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Lake Hawea, Mt Aspiring in the back

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Trail out of Wanaka

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