Day Six: Day trip to Waterfall Flats

Today I purposely left my tent and most of my kit at Top Forks Hut (to avoid temptation) and set out to do a side trip up to Waterfall Flats to check out the first technical challenge of the Rabbit Pass crossing. Two of the kiwi gals decided to join me, which was lovely. They were super nice and totally like minded.

When we hit waterfall flats we left Jess at the bottom with my PLB (just in case) and Nina, quite an experienced hiker as well, ascended with me. I knew from my research that we would ascend the face like a question mark. We made a promise to each other not to go up something we couldn’t get back down and then started the ascent.

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You know that feeling where your heart rate goes up because you’ve been told something exposed is coming up? I had that…

We made light work of the switch backs. Then we found a trickier part, which i managed but had made harder than i had to, so scampered back down and went up an easier way. (I wanted to find a route manageable with my full pack on). We made sure every foothold and handhold was good (which was really only possible because everything was dry). We stopped to admire the view around us. Then, it struck us, we were above the technical part! I could totally do this by myself! Because I now knew that if I got stuck later on i’d be able to turn back.

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We gave Jess a thumbs up and then climbed the last part to look down from above the waterfall and behind to the flats where I would walk the next day. The view was worth it.

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We made our way back down again without any issues and I memorised the route I would take the next day. (Yaaaaaaay)

We looked up to see a solo European coming down from Rabbit Pass (the direction it’s recommended not to go!) His eyes and hands told the story. As soon as he joined us at the bottom he took out a cigarette with shaky fingers and lit up! It turns out he hadn’t done his research before leaving home. The track had been recommended to him in the reverse direction but he was in the South and didn’t want to travel North to end up back where he started. (I on the other hand had.) He vowed to never try Rabbit Pass again :P

After he left we went skinny dipping at the bottom of the waterfall and then returned to the hut. I was excited now!

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To top the day off, the gals produced some massage oil back at the hut and gave me a hand and neck massage! Thanks!

Here are the links to the other days: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 7, Day 8.

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