Start: Locke Stream Hut
Finish: Hurunui No.3 Hut
Distance: 15km

It’s my birthday! I’m turning 24 today and what a way to spend it!

As I was eating my breakfast Jacqui and Scott (the SOBO we shared the hut with) surprised me with some party whistles and singing happy birthday, which was such a nice treat. I kept a whistle out so I could celebrate with it all day.

Then when I was brushing my teeth outside I happened to spot 2 Weka just wandering on past the hut. It was only 7.30am and it’s already a pretty phenomenal day.

We headed off through the long grass into the forest and I was so happy. Not many people get to say they spent their birthday hiking through beautiful lush forest.

We crossed over the swingbridge, the wobbliest one so far and then began the climb up to Harper’s Saddle, which consisted of 2km of very steep and slippery ascending.

As we started climbing a beautiful fantail came and sat on the branch right in front of me, chirping loudly. I spoke to it for a bit before passing it but it decided to follow me, flitting from branch to branch next to me, and it certainly had quite a lot to say.

I found myself getting emotional again. There’s something special about Fantails, it made me feel really warm and loved, and like someone special was watching over me and wishing me a happy birthday. This feeling grew the longer it followed me, until eventually I bowed slightly, thanking it for its company and then it flew off, leaving me feeling like I’d experienced something quite special.

Between here and the top I saw a number of Robins, a Tomtit and even a Weta that I was tempted to stand on but didn’t. The wildlife were really out in force today. Then after a while longer, longer than I was expecting, we made it to the top of Harper’s Pass and the view back down the valley was impressive.

From the top we started the slow descent through the overgrown forest until or flattened out and we could finally enjoy a pleasant walk down to Harper Pass Bivvy where we stopped for lunch.

From here it was another couple of easy hours through to Cameron’s Hut, spotting an awesome dragonfly who seemed to pose for us, and hopping over logs through the forest.

I was so enjoying today. It was just so peaceful, listening to the stream and the many (some unfamiliar) birdcalls. And the forest itself was so lush and green.

It did get a bit more exciting when we came to the 3-wire bridge. It was a bit scary at first but soon became quite fun and exhilarating and before we knew it, we were over. We even decided to hop back on it so we could take some photos.

From here it was a short walk through to the hut where we chatted to 3 SOBOs. I did a birthday shot of Berocca and even got some chocolate and biscuits off one of them cause it was my birthday.

What an awesome day, definitely a birthday to remember.