Yeah, today was predicted to be grim, and so it eventuated.

Drizzle when I sprang up in the dark, so pleased I wasn’t in my tent.

It deteriorated during the day, maybe as I gained elevation, and found myself at one stage walking along an exposed ridge that was getting battered by winds.

Left around 8 30 am and by the time I reached the turnoff to Gibbs Hill the long exposed ridge was already looking a poor option. Raining. The track was in the cloud from just 50 m away. Clouds whipping past at ground level. Didn’t fancy a few hours fully exposed to that.

The option of taking the road via the Wainui carpark seemed preferable, where it was easier walking and certainly more sheltered. Unfortunately, it was similarly exposed to the rain.

Fortunately, however, it wasn’t long before I was offered a ride to the Totaranui road turnoff, and I hardly walked across to the other road and another four-wheel-drive stopped and gave me a lift to Pigeon Saddle. I’ve saved at least two hours of misery with those rides, which proved important at the end of the day.

The second lot felt sorry for me as by then it was really hosing down. I must have looked a pathetic drenched sight.

At Pigeon Saddle the DOC sign stated three hours to the hut, but that was overly optimistic for me, travelling in the uphill direction. Plenty of climbing due to undulations. Some extraordinarily large beech trees. Great patches of forest.

Absolutely no view.

I alternated in hoping that a fire would be going however unlikely in the conditions, because who would be out tramping in today’s downpour, and having the place to myself.

No fire, and I do have solitude. Other than two sodden wekas to greet me.

But the fire is soon going and the double glazing is helping keep the heat in.

Tiredness has descended, and I’m hoping for a long night’s sleep on a comfy mattress. Back to a hut where my backcountry pass works.

Might take a rest day tomorrow which is predicted to be worse, and head to Castle Rock Hut on Monday.

Very quiet Saturday night here, other than the howling wind, the wekas, and the creaking of the fire.

Won’t be long before I’m horizontal!

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