The nights are long at the mid-winter solstice.

Plenty of sleeping done these last two nights. Catching up, perhaps.

Having slid into my sleeping bag around 7 pm means even getting up at 6 am, like this morning, gives a good 11 hours. It means I woke up and listened to the radio a bit throughout the night, but soon dropped back to snoozing.

I watched the sunrise, just after I heard the temperature in Nelson was 3°C.

Condensation forms both in or on the tent, but being under trees and having the vents open overnight helped.

It went from complete darkness, albeit with no clouds so the stars were out in force, through to the sun popping over D’Urville Island.

Coffee drinking warmed me up, even if my feet were exposed to the elements. Jandals were my weight compromise, despite the time of year.

I headed over to North Head, although DOC has cut that track short these days. Protecting the shag nests on the actual point.

The tide was perfect for crossing the Torrent Bay estuary, and my boots were not required to be removed. Pick the shallowest spots and run on through.

Not exactly moving quickly I ate lunch on Torrent Bay Beach after going to look at the A-frame house I helped build back when I was 18. It has been added to and now has a bigger deck that makes it much more liveable. Man, that was a long while ago.

Very cruisey over the hill to get to Bark Bay. It had been my recollection that this was the best forest of the Coastal Track with both red beech and rimu. Nice to see the two big species of tree ferns living alongside each other and coexisting happily enough.

All the exotic pines have been killed off now, which will allow the natives to come back. The dead trees remain standing, the light brown colour picking out exactly how many had gone wild.

Bark Bay campsite had a hammering with Cyclone Gita back in February 2018 with sand half a metre deep right across the camping areas, and the semi-mature eucalyptus subsequently removed. The whole place seems very open now.

As you might expect in winter, I was the only camper to be seen, although at least two others are at the hut.

At least I could sit in the camp kitchen for a while, and prepare and eat my yummy dehydrated dinner.

Another early night.

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