A quiet night, other than a weka screech or two at Rocks, I was on my lonesome once more.

The view out the Rocks hut window is of the impressive Mount Richmond, some high cloud around but not yesterday’s excessive humidity, so it’s worth heading up to The Lookout. This is not so much a singular vantage point but there are a few rocks of The Rocks, to take on the view, over there the major part of the Richmond range including where I’ll be in a few days, Starveall, Slaty Peak, etc, and, over there, a view back to Windy Point on the Dun Mountain Trail, a speck way in the distance is Thirds, then the Bay way in the distance, Mt Arthur, Abel Tasman, etc, in a shade of blue not too different from that of the sea.

Magnificent. That’s worth the stroll.

On the way down to the Pelorus I make the acquaintance of another couple of young wekas, that makes the count four in less than 24 hours, are they still on the endangered list?

I’ve walked on this track many a time, the last for a long day walk from Nelson, over to the river and back just after dark. This time there’s less rush, enjoy the sunshine, the bush, which seems at least when engaged against my memory bank, to have somewhat more undergrowth than in my youth.

The Pelorus, at least up here, is quite the unspoiled river, strangely green in tinge, in fact further down there is the aptly named Emerald Pool. I have a memory of a stretch of river where for 200m or more is just a channel, vertical sides in the greywacke, water 3 or 4m deep, and a large, enormous actually, trout hovering in the clear water, clear enough to make out the pebbles in the horizontal bed.

Leaving my pack at Middy Creek Hut where I’m spending the night, I wandered on down the river as far as Captains Creek hut, there’s a couple of well elevated swing bridges, over Fishtail Creek, that has to be way up there in height above water, and the Pelorus itself, which gives the opportunity to have views up and down the valleys.

I don’t find my channel, exactly, some stretches look similar but something’s not quite right either my memory is faulty, or that particular bit will be encountered on my way up to Roebuck tomorrow.

The track is great, red beech leaves in a boot wide single-track, crown fern either side, the beech forest sprinkled with young rimu, totara, miro, quite the sight. It’s surprising how few people tramp up here despite of the close proximity to Nelson and the beauty of the valley and the forest but at least it’s now part of Te Araroa, the conglomeration of tracks that takes you from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and here, more locally, starting on the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds, sits across to St Arnaud, so it does get some use.

And, some company tonight, a couple of local gals doing a three day walk up the Pelorus and back to Nelson via Rocks Hut and the Maitai. That’s the first fellow companions since I was at Hurunui Hut and the two hunters burst into the accommodation well after midnight with their stash of deer legs, eight, and back straps. So tonight some evening conversation, you can have too much of a good thing, ie, the solitary existence.

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