After two nights sharing with others in St Arnaud and Angelus Hut, this morning I wake up on my lonesome. It’s 5 30 am so not quite time to spring up, I just lie in my cozy sleeping bag and listen to the rushing water down in the creek.

It’s after seven, with my porridge ready to scoff and cup of coffee steaming on the table with the St Arnaud Range down the valley silhouetted against a lightning sky, I seem to enjoy that sight, or maybe just writing the word. It is still too dark to walk but in a couple of days Daylight Saving will be ended and the mornings will be back to more in sync with expectations. Sounds better to leave the hut at 7 45 am rather than just before 9 am. Of course it will be darker much earlier.

For all the luxury and expansive views of Angelus Hut, I have to say I prefer the immediacy and confinement of the views here, and as for the hut, yup, she’s my favourite to date on this trip, the others that have come close, Top Wairoa and Porters Hut just for sheer NZFS nostalgia, and Hunters Hut, something about windows there and the good sense of the layout, the table helps, downgraded due to the poor state of the ablutions when I was there, and, of course, my two night stay at Old Man Hut, again the windows and my friends the goats.

Overall, Hopeless Hut is Top of the Pops, the double width lower bunks, maybe nicer if you were sharing, the woody interior, windows, and location, location, err, location.

Upper Travers Hut is the best of the huts on the Travers-Sabine walk: huge windows, tables, views, two separate bunk rooms, nestled in the beech forest.

Porridge is cooled sufficiently to eat, yum.

Yet another beautiful day, how long can the spell go on, some beautiful track down from hopeless, club moss, the giant ancient kind, either side of the 250 mm wide track, really attractive stuff.

Essentially I’m mapless, of the paper kind, I’m saving the last batteries in my GPS for finding huts should the need arise, or if I go on some obscure route. I have taken photos of the maps that hang in most of the huts but in this instance it’s always a large-scale are whole of Nelson Lakes National Park map rather than the standard 1:50,000 topo maps I’ve been using for the Alpine Route.

I’m actually not sure how long today’s walk would be, do I really care, I know I’ll make up the Travers River valley and so it’s transpires.

Tomorrow I’m planning on Blue Lake but after that I’m undecided whether it should be Moss Pass, or, a thought for much of the day, Waiau Pass, or then again, the easy route down the Sabine River. I think the weather may play some role in that decision-making process tomorrow evening, the forecast is for a deterioration from these seemingly perfect conditions.

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