Last year I fastpacked a beautiful route from Lewis Pass through the Nelson Lakes to St Arnaud over the course of an evening and two days travel.
The first night was a brisk jog through the dark forests of Cannibal Gorge. I arrived late to an empty Ada Pass hut, but the fire brought some warmth.
The next day I crossed Three Tarns Pass with magnificent alpine tarns, and descended into the remote feeling Matakitaki valleys. There was a lot of treefall in the upper valley, but things slightly improved after reaching Bob’s Hut and turning up the East Matakitaki Valley.
I passed Thompson Lakes in the late afternoon and crossed more stunning views across to Waiau Pass at dusk, while looking over the waters of Lake Constance. I descended to Blue Lake Hut for a late dinner of Radix cooked over the meth-spirit cooker. It was a great 14 hour day covering 48km from Ada Pass Hut to Blue Lake Hut. The 16-bunk hut was completely full, so I had to sleep on the wooden floor! Fortunately, someone lent me a sleeping pad.
The next day after I met some of the hut occupants, I crossed Travers Saddle and ran all the way out the Travers River to St Arnaud. It was much longer than expected, but at least it was flat.
As I stumbled into St Arnaud, the Loop the Lake Race had just finished and some race marshals graciously offered me some leftover filled rolls.
I booked into the Backpackers, enjoyed dinner and an All Blacks rugby match at the pub, then hitchhiked back to Lewis Pass the next day with my dorm roommate, John from Christchurch.
But first, John had to tick off a few other Wild Things running club challenges to get extra points for the leaderboard. I was happy enough to sit in the cafe drinking some sweet drinks.