As it turned out there was rain in the night, heavy enough so I could hear it from inside the hut at times.

The patch of snow on the south side of the hut had gone, however.

The latest weather forecast I picked up on my little transistor radio was for rain at times, but clearing by the evening. That’s half good.

Just mizzle when I made my way out to the longdrop while still pitch dark. Sunrise was officially 8 10 am. Precipitation was up a notch, drizzling, when I set off for Palmer Bivvy. I must’ve been spurred on by how the day changed yesterday.

Suddenly I noticed some blue sky, and that expanded quickly.

Yahoo!! Time for an end to the gloom, and some decent weather.

Palmer Stream was up a bit from the day before’s visit, but most of the crossings were super easy to negotiate due to the gravel bottom, and being only around ankle depth.

I was surprised at how far you could drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle up, well, a while ago now. It wouldn’t be too hard to drive it even through the longest gorge and take it about three-quarters of the way to the bivvy.

The most tricky bit, the only tricky bit, was the last 200 m to the bivvy where a narrow gorge had a few large boulders dropped in, and that is always hard to negotiate, particularly when Albert Stream has risen from the overnight rain and snow melt.

Instead, I climbed up a scree slope over some crumbly rock on the true left and followed the ridge until I saw the bivvy down below.

It was very similar in setup to the Kohutara Bivvy. Two bunks. No heating or toilet.

It was located in a little sun trap, although it loses the sun early in winter.

Hadn’t taken long, about two hours in all, so I ate an early lunch while sitting comfortably on the bunk. Much easier, but less spectacular than my Albert Hut excursion.

I followed the same route back, up the hill and down the scree slope, except rather than going down the long gorge again, I went over the top to get some views. They were mighty fine.

It was just 60 m or so of height elevation gain getting up on a long ridge, with views up and down the valley, of Palmer Saddle, and still plenty of snow on the tops of the mountains.

Palmer Hut was in full sunshine on my return and I was thinking I’d seen the worst of the weather for a few days. The Clarence River was right up, another 600 to 800 mm on what I’d left four hours before. Now the colour was a dirty light tan, and flowing swiftly.

Seemed I might have a decent stretch of weather for a couple of days. Maybe all that snow on the track would have gone.

Fingers crossed.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Palmer Hut

A great location for views. | Palmer Hut, Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia/Clarence Conservation Park
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