So, at last I’m enroute to the Alpine Route after some issues last time round, almost a year ago. Events conspired then to terminate my efforts almost as they began, ie, boots falling to pieces, becoming moccasins, extreme rain. This time the signs are distinctly more promising, boots are in good nick and the weather forecast, well, you couldn’t get better.

After my recent Abel Tasman Inland Track experience where I neglected to have my boot inner soles and stove accompany me, I have, err, stashed them aboard. I’ve honed my baggage list in other ways, mostly excessive clothing, avoided too much in the way of extra treats, this will be quite austere in the food department but even with lugging 12 day’s food I seem to be able to swing my pack up on my back without too much straining.

So, as stated, the weather forecast for the next week is as good as you could hope for this time of year, and calm, that’s important.

The reality is this morning is somewhat different, the calm portion is right, but it’s more mizzle than drizzle, and damp cloud obscuring the view of the hills, and, of even the valley.

On the way up to the Dun Mountain Track junction at Cummins Spur, ie, on the shortcut up from the Brook, you climb up to 425m pronto, I realised why I had discarded my purpose bought tramping shirt from its designated task, the grey colour turns many shades darker when wet, but with the humidity in the air continuing, I guess it didn’t take too long to achieve a uniform colour. My foggy glasses have obviously been pocketed.

Being mid-week, Wednesday, the thought was that I’d seen the last of humanity for a few days but that thought needed to be postponed, first four mountain bike riders out on the Dun Mountain Trail, that’s what it is primarily these days, peddling furiously, they flashed by again later, then a gal at Thirds just out for a run, phew, and then round a corner a couple of trampers, Nina and Ali, relatively unburdened by their small packs having just done an overnighter at Rocks Hut, man, my timing is just so poor, and later, what initially seemed to be heavy footed goats off the track turned out to be council workers divesting the environment of the weed, gorse, which seems to be proliferating now the goats have been mostly eradicated.

I took a turn at Dun Saddle and headed, packless, up Dun Mountain, the mist still preventing any view back to Nelson or across the Bay but strangely, despite low cloud whipping at times between my legs the Richmond Range exhibited clear skies, Mount Fishtail across the Pelorus River completely in the clear, Mount Richmond, the second biggest hill in the range, 1756 m, with a touch of cloud obscuring the peak, and the entire Pelorus valley on show right up to Mt Rintoul, 1761 m, which will be the highest point on the so-called Alpine Route. The Dun Mountain shelter once boasted the dunny with a Top 10 view, now the whole place looks more than a bit sad, the view, well, that’s a different story.

Couple of young wekas were out, at Coads Creek, and, of course, more running around squawking at Rocks. At this time of the year the new season’s crop look quite attractive, not quite as cute as being chicks but better looking than their scraggly parents, their heads darting in any direction, their bodies sometimes following.

Rocks Hut, yes, I’m one happy chap. The Little Adventure has begun.

Day 2 | Middy Creek Hut, back here again →