Wednesday 3_7...Moturau Hut on Lake Manapouri....Kepler Track
I brought home so much of my eggs and sausage dinner that Anna Marie & I had plenty to share for our breakfast. At 9:30, our Track-Net shuttle bus picked us up at the door of the Te Anau hostel and dropped us off at the swing bridge at Rainbow Reach. It was still raining but we didn't care as it was warm and the trail was so green it almost hurt our eyes. We enjoyed the relaxing hike along the well-groomed trail along the Upper Waiau River. Strolling through the Lord of the Rings-like Beech forest we reached the Moturau Hut in just 2:15. The suggested time for the 6 km was 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Not good but at least a bit better.
We passed a fellow hiker who warned us of mosquitoes on the lower level of the hut...so we got ourselves settled in the upstairs bunkroom. After we hung our wet clothes up to dry we made our way down the covered walkway and relaxed in the cozy kitchen area. Soon we were joined by a group of 12 Aussies from a bush-walking club. Alan, a member of their group had slipped into the river and luckily was pulled out by his fellow trampers. The river was at a flash flood level and he considered himself very lucky not to have had a more serious problem.
Anna Marie and I chatted with an ex-school teacher turned psychiatric nurse. Jim said there was just no money in the teaching profession and he was very happy with his new profession. His wife worked at an insurance company and they needed both salaries to raise their 2 teenage boys. He gave me some instant cappuccino...tasty...but it was very sweet...Tonight was our feast of peanut butter and jelly and soup. The men started a fire and we all hung our wet clothes on the drying rack above the pot-bellied stove. It was very cozy warm evening filled with interesting conversation with folks from all over the world.