Hump Day

Sam Harrison
9 min readJul 1, 2020

I think I must have a sadistic streak. Most trampers probably do too. After a painful few days with excessively heavy packs on the Kepler I was feeling ready for the next adventure. The South Coast Track looked tempting, especially because we wouldn’t have to worry about dying in an avalanche (definite bonus). We actually did some planning for this trip and so our packs were a reasonable weight for our planned 8 days. Our route took us over ‘The Hump’, around to Lake Poteriteri, Paddling down to the Slaughter Burn, then dropping down the Waitutu river to the coast and hopefully Westies Hut with tonnes of kaimoana before walking out down the coast. It would be Jakob and I most of the way, accompanied by Kerry for the trip over the Hump.

We met Kerry in Invers and bunked down there for the night. I think it was the social highlight of the month for him, given the somewhat lackluster reputation the southern city has. The next morning we faffed about and eventually got to the Rarakau carpark where we would leave our car. It was about 9 by the time our boots finally hit the track, a little later than I had hoped for. The beginning of the track meandered aimlessly for a few k’s high above the sea before meeting the beach. We made good time along this highway which was good because we still had a long day ahead of us.

Our route soon took us off the beach and into the bush along an old 4WD track. This cut a path through gentle regenerating forest and we clocked up several more kilometres in great time. This speed came at a cost, both Jakob and I were still feeling the pain from the Kepler, not in any way assisted by the 8 days worth of food we were carrying. The road soon turned from a ‘the rolla could take this’ to a ‘bugger that’ as mud dominated the wheel ruts. A solitary orange triangle was spotted on a tree, suggesting that somewhere in that steep forested hill side behind it there would be a track. I knew this would be where the tramp would really begin. The route climbed steeply, with our altitude having a direct positive relationship with the amount of sweat that was pouring off my face. Worse still, my legs were starting to feel a bit jinky… not a good way to start a week of walking. The pain only intensified as…

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Sam Harrison

Tramper with something to say about tramps (of the walking variety).