Distance today: 47.1km
Distance total: 2373.7km
Time hiked: 12h 22min
Time total: 717h 37min
Two options to get to the trail head of the Harper Pass Track: either via the Tui Track or along the State Highway, which is the dry weather route. As I don't feel like crossing the fast flowing Boyle River first thing in the morning, I walk along the Highway. A wide shoulder and not too much traffic make the hike quite okay.
Once on the Harper Pass Track, with the exception of a few muddy and rooty sections, it's mostly easy-going, through different kinds of forest, all the way to massive Hope-Kiwi Lodge, where I arrive shortly before 2.
Now what should I do? Initially I planned to stay here for the night, as the next hut is 5 to 6 hours away (as usual different times from different sources). I already hiked nearly 30 kilometer and the tramp to Hurunui Hut would add another 19 kilometer.
Since the weather is predicted to turn really, really bad overnight, with heavy rain well into tomorrow I decide to carry on to the next hut anyway. I'm feeling good, the weather is brilliant and even if it takes me 7 hours, I'd still arrive there before sunset.
Most probably I will regret my decision at some point this afternoon, but still better to make use of the fine weather now, than wasting time in the hut this afternoon and being stuck here tomorrow (the Harper Track, with its many river crossings, is quite prone to getting impassable after heavy rain). That would actually drive my crazy.
The hike on a mostly fantastic track is fairly easy, with only a short ascent to Kiwi Saddle. Several Fantails are following me for quite a while, making the hike even nicer. Yet, my legs are getting more tired with every step.
Therefore, I'm relieved when I reach the Hurunui swing bridge. From here it's apparently only another 30 minutes sidle to the hut. Well, actually, it's not even a sidle. Just a walk on a well graded track leading along the river before ascending to the hut. With no energy left, I enter Hurunui Hut. Very tired, but very, very happy I made it.
It would have been a shame to hike this last part from the Lodge to here in bad weather (if possible to hike it at all).
Now, even if I'll stuck at this spacious hut for a half or maybe a full day, it won't really bother me as I know I made the most of the weather situation. And my legs probably wouldn't have something against rest neither ;)