I had a few things left on my To Do List so wasn’t the earliest of starts.

T gave me a ride up the Maitai Dam and it says something of the progress of my integration with Nelson since my return that I had two other unsolicited offers.

The immediate weather forecast wasn’t too great, showers, but the sky wasn’t looking too bad from the valley. The temperature didn’t encourage T to linger.

I have not warmed to the walk up to Dun Saddle. It’s a decent climb, 800 m or so, on a slope that doesn’t allow just casual strolling, particularly when I am wielding a pack carrying 12 days’ food, along with an ice axe and crampons. No tent required, of course, there’s plenty of huts along the way.

Nearing the saddle it started to snow lightly, huge flakes, although nothing settled. It was cool but I was well rugged up and movement kept me warm.

I needed my headlight for the last 20 minutes, clearly I wasn’t making speedy progress. I was overtaken by darkness.

Ideally I’d prefer the easy, but longer amble up the Dun Mountain Walkway, an historic tramline with a horse-drawn tram gradient, but for various reasons it’s been closed for most of the time over the last few years since I arrived in town. First a slip, then tree felling, then building a predator-proof fence, then more tree felling.

Not surprisingly there was no one in the hut, just a forlorn weka, investigating all the sudden noise. I have a feeling there will be plenty of solitude on this trip.

By 7 15 pm I was tucked in bed.

Temperature in the hut: 5° C.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Rocks Hut

Rocks Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park interior
Day 2 | Browning Hut, yup, that's winter all right →