Friday saw us scramble over the alpine route to Waiaua Gorge, and again the visibility was pretty bad, although we did get a good view of the volcano in the morning before the clouds rolled in. Saturday was much the same, with the track wandering around through alpine scrub and rainforest to Holly Hut. This walk is probably the most physically demanding track I've yet done, with climbs and descents of about 1000m every day, and by the time we reached the huts I was totally exhausted, even more than I'd been on the Pyke Loop; I can generally walk for miles and miles on the flat, but put a hill in front of me and watch me squirm.
Saturday evening was fun, with a large Kiwi family taking up half the hut and entertaining us with tramping stories and wee drams of whisky, the generous souls. The Christmas pud and custard they gave us went down a treat, too; needless to say the family was only on a one-night trip, something that was more and more apparent as they unpacked sausages, potatoes, vegetables, bottles of wine and all the other delights that you take for granted in the outside world, but which suddenly become perishable and heavy when you're on a long trek.