An Amazing Trail
A must do for any tramper.
Our Christmas Adventure
I have always dreamed of Christmas in the bush, far from the madding crowd and John is always happiest when tramping (or making stuff or laying in a bath).
This year our dream came true. With our older girls back in the UK for Christmas, we grabbed our chance and booked onto The Old Ghost Road.
It's a long way
At 85km, it is New Zealand's longest single track. What made it for Walker (aged 6) was the km markers. Some people love them, others hate them but for Walker they were a frame of reference. Much easier to comprehend than - "just around this corner" or "keep walking for another 20 mins...".
We were walking over 4 nights / 5 days and staying in all of the main huts. The first day saw a hailstorm 6km from the hut. It made Walkers day! What is this hard, cold stuff stinging my legs and making puddles he enquired? Can I jump in the puddles? Of course! He positively ran the last 6km that day - laughing his head off.
We had Christmas Eve at Lyell Saddle hut and you will be pleased to hear that Santa made it all the way out there.
From Lyell Saddle we made it to Ghost Lake Hut where we had a wonderful Christmas dinner. We carried fresh vegetables and Christmas cake up with us much to the amusement of the cyclists riding the same route. We were the only trampers over the 5 days on the trail. We were greeted to this view on Boxing Day morning.
The Skyline Ridge and Steps
The alpine section of The Old Ghost Road is phenomenal. What an amazing experience. Could not think of a better way to spend Boxing Day. We left early to try to avoid being on the open tops during the heat of midday.
From the skyline steps, we dropped down into Stern Valley hut after having to double back on ourselves (uphill) to find a dropped teddy.
Luckily, we got to have a lovely cooling dip in the river here and quickly became acquainted with the local sandflies.
The Bone Yard
We got up at 5am to leave Stern Valley. The Boneyard is so called for the vast expanse of white rock all around you and if you happen to be making your way through when the sun comes up, you will be fried. We wanted to avoid this :)
Stern Valley to our last hut, Specimen Point was also the longest day tramping at 25km. We knew it would be a big day for all of us.
An EPIC effort
We could not be prouder of Walker. He literally took the 25km day in his stride. The last 5km were HARD. We stopped regularly and made tea and noodles. We had a dip in the little creek at Goat Creek hut. It was so hot. My heart melted when he commented that even though his feet were sore, he knew he had to make it to the next hut.
The Last Hut
We arrived at Specimen Point hut after 12 hours on the trail. We were greeted by joyous exclamation from the cyclists who had arrived at the hut far earlier than us. A real celebration that made Walkers day and he soon found extra energy to show off his toys.
John and I reflected on the fact that the next day we would be walking out. It is always with a tinge of sadness to be leaving a trail and re-joining civilisation.
A treat at the end
The last 17km follows the mighty Mokihinui river to Seddonville.
Here at the end of the trail we had booked ourselves into the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge.
We cannot rate this place highly enough. WHAT A TREAT. It has a wonderful cafe providing yummy pizzas (amongst other delectable delights) during the day but in the evening, it is just for the guests, all of whom had come off the trail that day.
Two lovely ladies cooked the most splendid roast dinner and laid it all out for us to help ourselves.
I ate 2 full dinners and John ate 3!
Followed by pudding.
We slept well that night in our comfy beds.