After breakfast this morning he confirmed that we could move on to Mintaro hut today. There is a palpable sense of excitement running through the huts. As well as individual hikers and small groups of two to four, there is a large school group of twenty pupils that has kept us entertained while we have been held up. I’m glad I am not their teacher and had to keep them occupied for the holdover period.
The obstacle we faced was that one of the creeks flowing into the Clinton River was in spate and with the force of the water, crossing was difficult. Crossing a river in spate was a whole new skill set for our small group and one with which we were not too familiar. Fortunately, one of the guides for the private walkers had taken up station at the river and was prepared to offer us advice and to support us on the crossing.
The advice was to keep our boots on to assist us in balancing on the uneven and rocky river bottom and to loosen shoulder and waist straps on our packs for the crossing and to support each other. It is a shock when you first enter the water because this is glacial ice melt and it is very cold. The second feature is the power of the water as it tugs at your feet and legs and you do have to lean in to it to stop yourself being swept away. Your inclination is to take boots and socks off but wearing the boots gives you better traction on the stones on the riverbed. with bare feet in this kind of water, you are liable to slip and fall into the water. We all crossed safely and, apart from wet feet for the rest of the day, were relatively unscathed.