The weather the next day was glorious and so we headed off for a walk up to the Mueller hut. It was a steep and strenious 2.5hour climb up to the Mueller hut that revealed fantastic views of Mount Cook and many surrounding mountains and glaciers.
That evening the wind was incredibly gusty and so after pitching the tent in one spot we had to move it into the trees for more shelter. It was odd! one moment there would be no wind and the next the tent would be about to fly away. Before we left Mount Cook National park we headed up to the Hooker lake just below Mount Cook and stuck a foot in the glacier fed lake - chilly!
Next stop on the worldwind tour of NZ was Mount Aspiring National park and surprise surprise we turn up and it's raining. We decide that a 2.5 hour walk to a hut in the hills would be fine in the rain so we took Shane as far as we could nervously passing some swollen fords with caution. To be extra safe and in an attempt to not increase Shane's rattles Andy would take off his shoes and socks and get into the fords to make sure there were no surprises. Once on foot we headed off negotiating swollen streams and water logged fields. My trainers were wet through and unusually for me I was now faster then the boys at crossing streams as I just plowed on through as my feet were as wet as they could be. Soon the swollen stream showed itself that was too wide and too deep that not even Alex's boots could remain dry. The 2.5 hour walk felt a lot longer in that weather and the Mt Aspiring hut was a very welcome sight.
The next morning we were joined by several Kea. Kea are mountain parrots that are dark green with red/orange under their wings and are very naughty as they like to try their beak to anything and are known to destroy tents and damage cars. The wet birds merrily whistled away whilst eating the hut roof.
Late morning the rain had reduced to a fine drizzle and donned with our damp and wet clothes from the day before we set off for the Liverpool Hut which was further up the valley and promised great views if the cloud would clear. The scenary on route reminded us of some beautiful African landscape with rainforest stretching steeply up on either side of us with lots of timotei waterfalls. After 45minutes on the flat we start to head up steeply.... very steeply, with lots of grapling at tree roots, big knee bends and lots of calve burn. The steepness soon began to feel relentless and exhausting but occasionally we would get a glimpse through the trees of the valley below and see that we were gaining a lot of height very quickly spurring us on. After nearly 2 hours of going up we reach the top of the tree line and get a glimpse of our target. 45 mins later we arrive in the hut which is ours for the evening. It's very peacefull. The cloud slowly clears to reveal fantastic views down the valley, up towards Mount Aspiring and some large glaciers creeping down the mountains. The toilet for the hut was a little way off in a cold, exposed and blustery location towards the side of the mountian and quickly made me drink less.
We awoke to rain and concerned that the afternoons rain had come early we quickly pack and reluctantly put back on our wet and cold clothes and set out into the rain. Surpisingly we make it back to the Mount Aspiring hut in 2.5hours propelled on by the concern that the longer it rains the less likely that we will be able to drive Shane through the swollen fords at the bottom of the valley due the rain we were now having. The park ranger at the Mount Aspiring hut tells us that a bridge towards the car park was swept away in the rains over night.
Thankfully the streams that we had tramped though on the way into the park were lower making them easier to cross. We come across a guy in a wheelchair on his way to the Mount Aspiring hut and are amazed by his bravery and courage as the walk on foot was not always easy with a few steep sections and the rocky streams to cross. He asks the boys if they would help him up a steep section and Andy starts pushing. By the time Alex takes off his rucksac ready to help Andy looks like he is doing fine on his own. The hill now seems much steeper and longer as Alex and I watch. Andy comes back unable to speak due to the effort involved. We finally reach the broken bridge we had been warned about but after the other streams we have crossed by foot this happily seems nothing special. Back at the carpack Shane is there waiting and the fords were lower then on the way in so relief all round. The only obsticle back to Wanaka is a sea of sheep that are being herded. I have never seen so many in one spot!