I got up about 0630, which seemed to suit the other hut residents as well! Got away about 0830 and ended up stopping at Browning Hut at 1630 after 16.4km. GPS for the day is here.
Jack and Alisa set off about 30 mins before us and Henrick just before us, although he of course is nobo. Turns out that Middy was the last stop together with J & A as their young legs started to outdo ours! The start from Middy Hut was a 650m vertical climb over almost 5km. It was steady and relentless until almost at Rocks Hut, when it evens out a little. It wasn't too bad and we ended up doing it in about 2.5hrs plus a stop half way! Slightly faster than the notes suggest so not bad considering I thought I was really dawdling! Belinda, as always, goes a bit better uphill than me. With a lot of this stretch, the going was mainly roots and rocks through beech forest.
A 15 min break at Rocks Hut (flushing toilet!!) and we were of south in the direction of Browning Hut and Hackett junction. We weren't sure how far we would go but were both a little weary and leg-sore so we prepared to stop early. Especially we have a 900m vertical climb from Hackett to Starveall Hut early tomorrow!
This 11.5km section to Browning Hut was a mixture of more beech forest and some open tops - there was an interesting barren patch apparently as a result of the mineral composition of the soil. The forest was up and down and again involved a lots of rocks and roots - so the going wasn't fast, although the track is well used.
Near the tops there were significant areas of storm damage from a few years back, with fallen trees everywhere. It must have been a mammoth task for the DoC guys to clear it at the time! We got some good views of the Ranges from the tops and could also see back down to Nelson - couldn't see the town itself but I could see Rabbit Island! Briefly bumped into two nobo TAers today so there are certainly a few still on the track.
We had quite a step downhill pinch near the end which was tiring on the legs but we decided to stop at Browning Hut at 1630 or so. Gave us time to wash a couple of things, dry out the damp tent and groundsheet, and put the battery pack on the solar charger for a top up! I should mention that most of the day it was pretty fine and was glorious by the time we stopped! We have not had to don the rain jackets yet!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!