Up early and away by 0730 again as we knew we had a big day of mountain climbing ahead of us. Little did we realise how challenging!! 8 hours of actual walking to do 13.6km, with only an hour of stops in total. Got to Mt Rintoul Hut around 1630. The day's GPS is here.
From Slaty Hut to the second Old Man Hut junction took us only 4 hours, as against TA suggested 5 hours, so we were pretty pleased with that. This was mostly above the treeline, so underfoot was starting to get into rocks, rubble etc that was going to become familiar over the next few days! We were also starting to glimpse what the views were all about! We were back into bush at this second junction so stopped for lunch before setting off up Little Rintoul. Old Man Hut is over 200 vertical metres below the track so you would only go down if you need to stay there!
We then started the climb up Little Rintoul (1643m), coming out of the bush reasonably quickly. Now we were getting into some more serious rocks, rubble and scree slopes underfoot. I won't try and describe it - rather the pictures can do it! Met a German guy coming down Little Rintoul but only stopped for a very brief chat. It was quite a slog uphill in places - a case of one foot in front of the other, whilst always having to be very careful where you placed that foot! The weather was quite kind to us - quite clear but not too hot, and the views we were getting were well earned!
After this little summit we had to drop down 250m below a saddle before ascending another 350m to Mt R itself. This descent was pretty tough in places, a lot of it down a fairly steep scree slope. The toughest part for both of us is primarily our knee joints as they take a real pounding on all the downhill! Anyway, we negotiated it fine and another uphill slog saw us with some great views from the 1731m peak.
We traversed a ridge for a km or so before dropping down over the next km, eventually down through bush to the Mt Rintoul Hut, which is at about 1250m asl.
We put our shoes and gaiters outside to air, and Belinda took her insoles out as well. A little later, Belinda went out to gather her stuff up and discovered one of her gel insoles had disappeared! There were a couple of goats hanging around and we are not sure whether it was one of them or a weka that stole off with it (we hadn't seen any weka here though - at least not until the next morning). Nett result is that B has to revert to her standard Hoka insoles that came with the shoes. Lucky we each carry a spare pair! Lesson learnt!! We were pleasantly surprised to have the hut to ourselves tonight (hut snobs!).
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"!!