Royal Hut to Camp Stream Hut is 5 hours according to the track notes which go North to South. The other direction is a bit longer. Based on the 5 hours I was planning on pushing through to Stone Hut tonight. However, it took 6 hours just to get to the saddle and another 2.5 hours to get down to the hut.
There was frost this morning. First frost since I started this. More related to the altitude than the time of the year I suspect. I was packed pretty fast though and on the trail by 9am.
The GPS track up Camp Stream didn't really follow the markers and I found myself walking for the first couple of kilometers about 50-100m up the slope of the valley. Eventually gave this up and descended to the bottom and followed that. The marker poles were down in the bottom. With the lack of an established path I don't think I made any better speed.
Reaching Stag's Saddle was certainly a bonus though. The view was fantastic although I doubt my camera will do it justice. Good view of Tekapo and Mt John. I could even make out the telescope domes. i took lots of photos and, seeing as I had cell coverage, tweeted, G+'d, txt'd and even phoned mum. At 1925m it is the highest point on the Te Araroa. I figured it was worth shouting about seeing as I could.
The walk down was a little better although there was one slip where I folded my knee in a manner it shouldn't fold in. Feels okay at the moment though. Should know pretty promptly in the morning if it's going to be an issue.
Royal Hut is clean, large (8 bunks), and in very good condition. Steel benches, large table with bench seats, an open fire place and a supply of wood. not much mouse sign, although I'm starting to hear the occasional scrabbling. Will hang the pack tonight. Just recalling Fred mentioning how one of his pouches was chewed through to get at what was in it once.
The moon should be up soon. Mars is close to it at the moment and is in opposition too. Good and bright.
I'm going to go stare at the sky for a bit.