Top Tip: There’s a choice of three 4×4 tracks at weir, highroad comes to a dead end by a fence line. Lowroad goes over the weir and onto the wrong side of the lake, middle road is the one you want! It doesn’t look much to begin with, but after a few 100m turns into an easy to follow fresh cut jeep track.
Cheering up as the sun came out there was some dramatic low cloud across the water. Going was slow, and after such an awesome section at Mt. Cook it kind of felt like we were ‘done’, that we’d seen the highlights. It was taking quite a bit of mental persuasion to keep motivated and that all this was worth the grunt :)
Our aim for the evening was to pitch up at the ‘informal campsite’ in the beech forest up Freehold Creek. Well – it doesn’t get more ‘informal’ than this!! Poo-ing out in the open by the footpath. No screen or anything haha! Not even a bush for cover. The ‘Secret Loo’ was not much more than a wooden box above a dint in the ground. In fact, you had to lift your feet when sat on it as some of the contents had a tendency to leak out underneath! Wah!
But the best surprise of all was the hand-drawn ‘wanted poster’ taped under the lid. We kept our eyes peeled for the Ohau’s most wanted… I hoped he wouldn’t jump out on me while I was availing myself of the conveniences. But I guess if he had, what was the worst that could happen? I was already on the potty.
When we told the Tasty Trekkers about it later they were gutted they’d not had the chance for some alfresco ‘private time’ on the secret loo ;) If you’re in the forest and looking for a pit stop, keep your eye out for a blue bottle top nailed to a tree near an orange triangle. This signifies the path to relief!
The ‘informal campsite’ appeared just after the Forest Throne, and there were some excellent flat spots and a gushing river of fresh mountain spring water to gorge on. An old firepit was obvious and some kind person had already collected the logs. Some kindle collecting later and it was time to stoke up, get the spicy noodle soup on, grab a seat and get comfy. I tell you, there’s nothing much more satisfying than making and tending yourself a good fire. I’m surprised TV ever caught on when you had the chance to do this every night in the olden days :) Give me crackling sticks any day.