Distance today: 18.2km
Distance total: 2248.3km
Time hiked: 9h 01min
Time total: 678h 10min
Through tussock I initially hike on a fairly well formed track towards Travers Saddle. The higher I climb, the rockier it gets and the more spectacular the views of the surrounding mountains.
A little tarn on the saddle makes a perfect place for my (this time more modest) breakfast. No wind and the morning sun makes my break at nearly 1800 meters very pleasant - even though it's only 7:30.
From the saddle, the track drops more than 1000 meter down to West Sabine Hut. While technically easy, it's steep and long. A stress test for the knees. Close to the hut and basically out of nowhere, the track crosses an extremely deep, narrow gorge via a bridge. Spectacular!
West Sabine Hut marks the lowest point of today's tramp. From here it's mostly an easy going climb along a river. One part, where one massive fallen rock carried out a massacre against the trees, is a bit tricky to navigate through. A stone's throw away from the hut, the track ascends again steeply - as usual...
Rotomairewhenua, Lake of the Peaceful Lands or simply Blue Lake, is located a few steps away from the hut. For the Ngāti Apa people, the lake symbolizes the nature of their relationship to their environment. For me, the blue and green shining lake - apparently the clearest of the world - is simply amazing. I'm so happy to marvel at the lake on such a sunny, clear day.
Unfortunately, tomorrow the weather won be as gorgeous as today.
While the morning is okay, rain, possible heavy and severe gales in exposed places are predicted to develop around midday. And I really don't want to climb over technically challenging and exposed Waiau Pass in these conditions.
So what should I do tomorrow?
Even though it's beautiful here, I don't feel like waiting for better weather and spending at least another night at the hut.
My plan: leave with the first light tomorrow morning. Should the weather turn bad earlier than expected I'd either return or camp at the foot of Waiau Pass, which is around 1.5 hours away from here. But I'm positive that I will beat the bad weather tomorrow :)