Early to bed last night, and a sinking feeling. Seems my sleeping mat has a hole. Full inflation lasted about two hours until I was residing directly on the ground. A sandy substrate, so not so bad, but I woke up in the middle of the night and puffed away. I’ve had this experience before on the very much harder ground of Australia, and back then managed to find three tiny holes relatively quickly. It took weeks to find the last.

I’ve been quite blasé to date with this now lightweight mat. At least I know how to find any holes. Water with liquid soap in a bath helps you spot the tiny stream of bubbles.

I checked it out when some daylight appeared, and found that they weren’t holes. The mat had a minor delamination. One of those manufacturing malfunctions that isn’t really able to be patched satisfactorily. Certainly defunct in the long term.

As usual, an early stage start due to my very early departure to my tent once again last night. Like 6 pm.

So, the big 12 hours horizontal, part listening to the early morning news on my radio.

Overcast, and that’s kept the air temperature relatively warm, although I have my feather jacket zipped right up as I sip a couple of rounds of coffee.

The wekas are out roaming around. Marauding.

As are a few sandflies, and not having human competition for their instincts I am unable to share the pleasures around. Not surprising due to the campsite being sighted on a slope above the swamp.

Of the two pests, the wekas are more incorrigible. Handclaps? At least that gains their attention momentarily. Even missiles fired in their general direction has them investigating, like a dog about to return a stick. The only behaviour to cause them concern is the appearance of a sibling rival, and soon its head is stretched out and close to the ground with legs flailing as they project themselves over the terrain in protection of their barren, but nevertheless precious territory. They seem still hopeful of finding a random weta out on the recently mown grass.

At one stage six wekas have appeared. Then, all of a sudden they all disappeared. Maybe the early morning energetics has helped with hunger, and it’s time for a real breakfast, out where it resides in the shrubbery.

Light now. Time for my own breakfast.

This turned out to be a more energetic day. The walk to Totaranui is some of the best forest on the southern part of the park. Maybe I’ve said that before. Mature beech, rimu, and even a few large ratas.

By the time I made it to Totaranui it was really blowing and the idea of camping in a wet tent with a deflated sleeping mattress was seeming not such a great idea.

I checked out the Anapai and Mutton Cove campsites. Both were windswept in a major way. Still 4 30 pm, so I could head over to the more sheltered Wharawhirangi campsite.

And so it proved. Dark for the last kilometre, after I spent time finding Internet coverage on the saddle and checking the weather forecast for tomorrow.

Not so great. Intermittent rain.

But probably still sensible to forge on up to Awapoto Hut a couple of days early, spending two nights in the hut instead.

I might be adventurous having a camping holiday in the middle of winter, but I’m not too crazy to persist despite poor weather.

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