3.5° C inside Browning Hut in the morning, but no big frost outside due to a slight breeze. I’d better get used to these conditions.

I was out of the hut, pack not yet donned when a couple of hunters and a dog strolled in from the road end. That’s kind of like a three hour walk so I wasn’t exactly perky, although they had left very early. It was just as the first touch of sunlight hit the hut.

The stream was low so not a problem with getting my feet wet as I hustled my way down to Hacket Hut. Also not a problem with the eight crossings of Hacket Creek either as I made my way to the start of the big climb. You just balance on the occasional rock sticking out of the water and dance across, my single pole assisting with not falling in.

I’ve made a pledge to keep my feet as dry as possible on this trip, wet feet in cold conditions isn’t healthy.

From the last crossing it was just grinding out the 900 m climb. It’s reasonably steep, unrelenting for the most part, one foot in front of another type stuff. I might have a level of experience for this type of exercise but after a few sedentary months my fitness levels are way down, plus still having 10 days’ food didn’t help.

Just plod, plod, plod, with a break, err, often.

One of the hard days for the trip, I’d psyched myself up, better get to the hut before dark. I almost met this objective. It did go on.

Actually there were some sights along the way: some mature kanuka, up the hill a patch of massive tree ferns, mountain cabbage trees, some filmy ferns, and less than 100 m from the hut, still in the forest, just as I was getting into the snow was a small fern bank covered in tiny icicles.

You get these wondrous moments.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Starveall Hut

Starveall Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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