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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Days 31-33 Preliminary Report: Nelson Range to Harper Pass

Having battled through the Richmond Range, Jez then tackled the Nelson Range before entering the Southern Alps in Lake Sumner Forest Park, then heading for Harper Pass & Arthurs Pass. He has now been sleeping in huts for the last 3 nights. 

Beautiful Lake Rotoiti - the start of the Nelson Range

He is anxious to post another blog as soon as possible but, in the meantime, Jamie & I are putting this out to let followers know what has been happening. 

The challenge for the support team has been to find a way in to the remote national parks to resupply Jez. However the effort has been worthwhile each time just to witness Jez's delight & relief that we had made it to the agreed meeting points. Initially I assumed that he was pleased to see us, but soon realised that it was the food that we had bought him that he was excited about! 

On the first occasion we walked in to Mid Wairoa Hut using a challenging & dangerously eroded path up the gorge. We thought that Jez might stay there that night but, no, he had decided to get to Upper Wairoa Hut, & soon he disappeared off into the gloom for another late finish after dark. The team returned down the valley but I stayed at the hut overnight not wanting to risk the precipitous path after dark. The long walk down through Wairoa Gorge the next morning was magical as it passed numerous waterfalls & emerald green swimming holes. 

On the next occasion Jamie set off with the photography team to link up the following day by driving in, walking over a pass, & camping out overnight. Sandflies were the team's unwelcome guests (& they have become our constant companions every time we dare to step out of the van!) but Jamie had a successful rendezvous with Jez.

Yesteday we were off again in the photographer's car after deciding that we could not risk taking our camper van along the track towards Lake Sumner. After a 2-hour drive we found ourselves on a very difficult track negotiating one large, deep, water-filled hole after another. All credit to our Subaru 4WD estate & expert driver, Matteo, who got us to within about 12km of the Hurunui Hut, our agreed meeting point. Jez had decided to 'run light' & my job was to deliver his pack ((containing all his overnight kit & food) to the hut. Without the pack he would be in serious difficulty. 

Looking back towards Lake Sumner

Fortunately the trail from the road end was ok for the mountain bike & I was at the hut after 2 hours of cycling through magnificent New Zealand wilderness. The rain & strong wind simply emphasised the remote beauty of the place although it was a relief to gain the sanctuary of the well equipped hut. Jez had not arrived so, after an hour of waiting, I decided to leave the bag & depart so getting back to the car before dark. 

On returning to the river, & the suspension bridge over which he would arrive, I had one last look out across the grassy meadows. To my relief I spotted a tiny figure in the distance. It was Jez! I watched him approach & cross the bridge. He was very relieved to see me & know that his much-needed supper was awaiting him at the hut. We chatted briefly & then went our separate ways.

Jez arriving below Hurunui Hut

That was 7.30pm but he wasn't finished for the day! I had a satellite phone call from him at 10pm to say that he was 1k from the next hut where he intended to stop for the night.

On the way back to the car

Tomorrow he is due to reach Arthur's Pass, to be reunited with his wife of 2 months, Gemma, who has just arrived from the UK. It will be a very special day for them both.

Mark T.


Steven Morris said...

Just another routine day or two at the office then!!

Anonymous said...

Great update thanks Mark, sounds like an adventurous few days for all involved. Lovely to see the photos and look forward to the next entry! Jenny/Woody

Tommy said...

Stop long enough to eat some venison ragout at the Wobbly Kea Cafe at Arthur's Pass. It is one of our family's favorite meals on the South Island ...

Run on Jez!

Sophie Bragg said...

Wonderful account Mark. Thanks for the update - and glad you're able to appreciate some of the amazing scenery too in addition to the logistical challenges you are facing daily!
S x

Maria Clara Vergueiro said...

Hi Jez,

I'm from Outside magazine in Brazil, trying to reach you for an interview. Can I email you some questions for our next issue?
Tks a lot,
Maria Clara

Ronan said...

It may sound odd but in Arthur's Pass nip into the church that's there...there's a surprise there that a nature lover will appreciate.

Keep running, you legend Jez! You're an inspiration!


Vix said...

When is Mike Wolfe making an appearance? Though it looks like Jez is managing by hiimself quite nicely!

MickT said...

Amazing considering the recent challenging conditions!
Do you know when he will hit the start of the section from the Glenrock Stream on the south side of the rakaia river- would be interested ( if ok ) to run a few kms ( It won't be many as doubt I will keep up for long) with Jez on some of the section between there and the hakatere-heron track.

Sue & Antonio said...

Great account Mark, looks and sounds fabulous! Well done Jez and all the team....... We shall now settle back into our chairs for a well-deserved rest with tea and cake after reading all this. Take care, enjoy every moment!!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! Ben and Holly here. Extraordinary adventure! We have really enjoyed reading about it so far, thank you for making such an effort to keep everyone posted!Best of luck to all and keep going!