Start: Camp Stream Hut
Finish: Royal Hut
Distance: 16km

Our new friends Pete and Jeremy headed off before us and we followed about 30 minutes later, heading up the 4WD track towards the ridge, excited to be crossing the highest point on the TA today.

After finding a suitable spot to head up to the ridge we wandered through the tussock to the top and I was speechless. The ridge route isn’t the official TA route but almost everyone does it as it is easier walking and offers spectacular views, and today was no exception.

Snowy mountains and rivers and bright blue lakes and we could see the track all the way across to the saddle.

I said to Jacqui “This is why we’re doing this.” Because it is. Never in my life did I think views like this would be possible and here I am. Beauty like this cannot be found on your morning commute or looking out your office window. You have to go looking for it, you have to want to work hard for the beauty, and when you do you get rewarded with things you’ve never seen before.

We continued up the ridge, smiling as more and more mountains appeared and the lake behind us got bluer and bluer. And we even passed right by some snow, which if you know me you’ll know I get very excited about snow!

After following the gents up the ridge we saw them ahead of us, climbing up what looked to be a peak instead of a saddle so we checked the map and realised we’d missed the turn off to head across to the saddle. But we only had 2 options, forward or backwards so onwards we went to the summit of Beuzenberg Peak at a huge 2070 metres above sea level and the views were incredible!

We had some lunch with the gents before contemplating the descent down to the saddle. We could see that it involved a lot of steep scree scrambling and while the gents have had a lifetime of experience, I’ve never tackled scree before so I was very nervous.

They were so kind and patient and gave us tips on how to descend safely and after a while it became quite fun. We were sliding down, kind of like rock skiing and I felt my nerves disappear.

Before we knew it we were at Stag Saddle, the official high point of the TA and while we knew it was a huge milestone to celebrate, it felt slightly anti-climactic because we had just been higher.

As I was standing there in the wind, watching the others take photos I had a realisation. For months I’ve been doubting myself, scared about these high climbs, thinking that I’m not fit enough or that my pack is too heavy or that I won’t make it. But slowly, day by day and step by step I’ve made it here, to the highest point and not only have I achieved something I wasn’t sure I could do, but I climbed up another 150 metres. Not only have I achieved the goal but I’ve smashed it and achieved so much more, and if I can do that, then I can do anything, all it takes is one little step at a time.

We said goodbye to Pete and Jeremy as they headed off while we waited for them to head into the distance so Jacqui could take a naked picture. Then it was a steep descent through the valley.

I kept stopping to enjoy the view of the valley around us but was very aware that Jacqui was getting a bit over today so kept the photo stops to a minimum.

Eventually we rounded a hill and saw the hut and 2 familiar faces. Pete and Jeremy had decided to stay here instead of pushing on so we get to enjoy another night with our new friends!

We sorted our stuff out and relaxed in the sun before some SOBOs turned up. They told us that they had tried coming down Bush Stream (the official TA route) but it was too high so had to turn around and come down Forest Creek (the diversion route). Jacqui and I had already decided to do Forest Creek as we hadn’t wanted to risk the high river crossings and now Pete and Jeremy are going to join us aswell which will be nice.