Start: Waiau Forks
Finish: Blue Lake Hut
Distance: 8km

I awake at 2am and I am freezing. It’s raining and the weather forecast says 3°C. I put all of my layers on and snuggle back into my sleeping bag and pray that the rain stops in a few hours.

My alarm goes off at 4.45am and I eventually get up to a bright and clear morning, yay! After a slow pack-up we head off at 7.15am through the bush, climbing instantly to an awesome waterfall and view.

I am in such a good mood. Today is the day we’ve been waiting weeks for, today we do the Waiau Pass! Looking around the mountains and valley I am happy.

We cross the stream and I look up and see orange markers littering the steep cliff to our right and we laugh. Bloody TA, always taking the steepest route.

We start the steep climb up the mountain and the track starts off as soil and gravel, with some steep slippery sections that have me holding my poles in one hand and grabbing at rocks or plants with the other. But we knew the worst was still yet to come.

I stopped at every marker and looked back over the view with a smile on my face. Especially as I looked down and saw Alan and Paul at the bottom looking up at us.

Eventually the trail turned into rock faces and the fun really began. We were rock climbing nearly-vertical rock faces, praying that the footholds we chose wouldn’t slip. While it was nerve wracking I was actually having a lot of fun, it was really exhilarating choosing my own path and hauling myself up giant rocks knowing I had my life in my hands.

I had a little giggle at the thought of my family and how they would have an absolute heart attack if they saw what I was doing.

Alan and Paul eventually caught up to us just below the top as we slowed down over the more difficult stuff. They did kindly yell down to us that what we thought was the top wasn’t actually the top, but the pass was only a short scree sidle away.

Coming up over the top was incredible, we could just see the lake from behind another hill and the views of the surrounding mountains were incredible.

After some snacks we contemplated the descent down the steep scree slope. Taking our time we eventually started making some progress and when I looked back up the view took my breath away. There in front of me in all its glory was Lake Constance, with the blues and greens shining against the mountain backdrop.

I felt tears forming in my eyes again as I looked out at the view. I’ve seen so many photos of this exact view but now standing here and actually being here looking at it with my own eyes is unbelievable. I had a huge sense of achievement and belief in what I’m doing and just a huge appreciation for the world because how could you not when you’re looking at something like that?

After sliding on some more scree we made it down to the valley floor and it was here that marked our 1000km!

It felt like such a huge milestone, 1000km walked. But at the same time we know we’ve still got 2000km to go.

We wandered along the river to the edge of the lake and now that we were closer the colours changed, now the lake was more of a glistening dark blue.

No-one is allowed to touch Lake Constance and Blue Lake as they are sacred and have fragile eco systems but that makes it even more beautiful, knowing it is truly untouched natural beauty.

The trail wandered along the stony shore for a bit before markers pointed us up another hill. When we were walking along the lake I spotted the marker at the top so while it was quite steep I knew it wasn’t far up, so up we went.

30 minutes later we reached the marker at the top, only for me to look across and see the 2 boys still climbing up on our left. This was not the top. We grumbled a bit before setting off again up and up we climbed until eventually we saw the boys down on a track below us. The top must be close!

We finally reached the top marker and looked down at the steep descent and gulped. Another rocky descent lay ahead of us. We scrambled down the scree and across boulder fields until we looked out over the next valley and saw Blue Lake.

Absolutely phenomenal, the greens of the trees and the bright blue of the lake were just incredible.

We powered on down through the trees to the hut and I collapsed onto a bunk while we chatted to Alan and Paul before they continued on.

We’ve got a big 10/11 hour day tomorrow so looks like an early night might be needed.