Left Brownings Hut at 0730 and got to Slaty about 1700, covering 15.4km and including 2hrs of stops! About 7 hours of actual walking - with longer than planned stops as noted below. GPS track for the day is here.
We headed off downhill through bush, taking only an hour to get to Hackett Hut, which is 180m lower than Browning. Hackett Hut is quite close to a roadend and seems to suffer a bit of misuse. We were quite glad we stopped where we did last night! Then it was a 900m vertical climb to Starveall Hut.
We started off following the Hackett River which involved several crossings and some time walking up the river on boulders. B decided to go wet feet, I managed to stay dry. Then it was off up the hill through bush. The going underfoot was ok, just steep.
On the way up we meet a Swedish girl and English guy nobo. Stopped for a brief chat and we asked where Anna was from - she said she was living in Stockholm, having just completed medical studies, but originally from Ostersund! She was surprised when we said we had a number of friends in and around Ostersund!! It's a very small world!
About halfway up we stopped for 15 mins and just as we were about to head off we were joined by three kiwis coming down. Ron and Rose were older than us and their friend Mary was similar age! They are section hiking (and biking!) TA. Fantastic to see other older kiwis out doing it!
On up to Starveall Hut at about 1150m asl where we stopped for an hour for a "recovery" lunch. Met a young American nobo called Martin ("cool" Martin!).
Then it was off for another 400m climb followed by some up and down before reaching Slaty Hut at about 1400m asl. The mist had started to roll in by now so we were hoping it didn't get too bad as we went up!
There were two older kiwi guys with one of their daughters and a friend at the hut (6 bunk) - they were also expecting another person so we decided to tent instead. One of the guys, Adrian, had earlier scoped out a possible tent site which we managed to squeeze into with a bit of basic leveling and clearing. We popped into the hut later for an hour or so for a chat before hitting the tent about 1930.
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"!!