Sunrise: magnificent.

The clouds looked vicious, but somehow when the sun rose, it turned into as good a day as I could wish. Blue skies, although the wind was up and it was chilly, particularly out of the direct sun.

No hurry in the morning, so I sat at my picnic table and made a few coffees. Sat looking out to sea with waves crashing just metres away.

No one else around until about 10 30 am when an older guy came along the beach and told me of his eight years of trapping rats in the area for the community trust. Hundreds of rats, and just five stoats. His experience was that you needed to wedge the minced rabbit bait into the trap or the rats were cunning enough to lift it out without setting off the trap. A new DOC supervisor changed the system, and his previous catch of 8 to 10 rats a trip dropped to just one on average. He decided to put his energy elsewhere.

It was after 12 noon when I shuffled off and wandered the kilometre around to Stilwell Bay where I mooched around for another long while, eating some fine oysters off the rocks, and finding a few decent sized mussels for an evening entrée. Helped that it was extreme low tide at the time of a Full Moon.

A few hikers strolled past, but I was in no hurry. Some views to take in.

It was 4 pm when I scuttled past Anchorage Hut. 20 beefy guys I assumed were training for the army. Officers probably, due to their self-centredness. They had paddled past me earlier in the day and were preparing for another cruise. I zipped on by at close quarters without them noticing.

Marahau to Anchorage is my least enthusiastic section of the track, maybe due to familiarity. The bumps in the track have been levelled out and it is well manicured. The number of hikers is higher at this end of the park boosted by those day walking following their boat release further up the coast.

As predicted, across at Te Pukatea Bay I have the place to myself. It’s just fantastic to camp right above the beach again. The best campsite in the park I’ve maintained for a long while. Mutton Cove is also up there in the Great Campsites designation but slightly downgraded due to the lack of shelter. Once again I was perched very close to the crashing waves.

Mussels followed by my standard dehy fare for dinner at another picnic table. Yay!

Very little happened today. Exactly what I was looking for on this first trip with a heavy pack for a while. Easing my way into it. No point in getting injured.

Slow and steady. The rest of the year’s exercise needs to be considered.

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