Start: Slaty Hut
Finish: Nelson
Distance: 17km

Due to the torrential rain we experienced today I only have 2 photos; one before we started and one at the end.

Due to the forecast we’ve decided to cut this section short and exit at the Hacket Junction to Nelson to wait out the rain. We spent the morning hanging around the hut while we optimistically waited for the rain to ease…which it didn’t so we set off in the rain at about 10am.

We raced up and over the hill to get back into the forest where the wind and rain wasn’t as heavy.

Jacqui soon left me behind as we started climbing up Starveall Peak which was quite steep and slippery in some sections but eventually I made it out of the bushline and immediately the wind and rain hit me head on.

The wind was blowing the raindrops directly into my face so fast and sharp that they felt like needles. A couple of them landed in my eyes and I had to turn around and close my eyes to wait for my vision to recover.

I practically ran through the tussock, keeping my head down and only looking up briefly to make sure I was still heading towards the next orange marker and when the wind gusts blew through I would have to stop and brace myself before continuing.

As I neared the end of the tussock I saw some trees and felt so relieved that I was headed back into the forest but the track was only tricking me and instead turned and started leading me over rocky cliffs which would have slippery and scary even in the best conditions. I would have to stop and cling to the rocks while the wind tried to blow me off.

Then it was across 2 scree slopes where Starveall Hut hut came into sight! And there was smoke coming out of the chimney. I ran in the door to find Jacqui already in front of the fire chatting to one of the ‘drifters’ we’d heard about from a SOBO last night.

We knew there was phone reception here so we dried off and got warm again in front of the fire while Jacqui confirmed our pickup with her friend.

Once that was organised it was back out into the rain for another 4.5 hours to the carpark.

The track from here was a steep descent down through the forest which wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. The tree roots had created nice wide steps down through the mud.

I knew we had to cross the river 8 times so as we descended down towards the river I started getting quite nervous as from the sound it sounded quite full and fast and then when we came to the first crossing I could see it was a bit brown and flooded. We assessed it carefully, picking the best route across and slowly waded across. It came to just above our knees and we could still see the bottom as we were crossing so my worry eased slightly.

The other 7 crossings went alright too, we made sure we picked the safest line and took our time and only once did it come above our knees. And then we came to Hacket Hut.

We retreated inside for a quick rest before pushing hard on the last 6km out to the carpark, which was easy as this track had bridges and was nice and wide and flat.

We made it to the carpark drenched and cold and hid in the toilet, changing into dry clothes while we waited for our ride into Nelson.

When Hannah turned up we bundled into the car and thanked them profusely the whole drive into Nelson where we enjoyed a hot shower and a nice pizza for dinner.