The drizzle has stopped but the gloom hasn’t dissipated.

I guess you can’t be too concerned in the scheme of things, 20 good days out of 22 is a great score, most of those 20, particularly experienced when needed up on the top of the hills, have been as good as you might wish.

It’s a short drop down Cannibal Gorge, you don’t see a lot of the river, sidling high above it through the red beech forest for much of the way, plenty of ferns, clubmoss, sphagnum, vivid shades of green in various hues, not much of that black coating often found on the beech trees, some lichen instead, old man’s beard, etc.

As it’s turned out I’ve tackled some of the most gnarly parts of Te Araroa, that slither down Little Rintoul, a ridiculous loose patch near Dun Creek and Ellis Stream between Hunters and Porters Creek huts, Mt Angelus and Hopeless Creek, and then the Wairau traverse. In retrospect you kind of go, so that wasn’t too bad, but as the bulletproof feeling of youth fades as you become less physically flexible there’s a realisation that people have died, Andy quite recently, doing parts of this trip.

After far too long doing this sort of walk solo, having most of an afternoon walking with Stephen, has made me realise the merits of travelling with someone else. I like the solitude but then again I kinda like to chat as well.

Before I know it I’m down at the suspension bridge and powering up to the Lewis Pass car park, the mizzle closely held by the hills, big views not the order of the day.

Okay, so the walking is over, except for that last section up the hill in town, the hardest part is about to start, getting a lift back to Nelson.

← Day 21 | Cannibal Gorge Hut, last night on the trail