Last night I was in bed by 9 pm. A good night’s sleep once again.

Nothing like moderate physical exertion, and the sound of rushing water from the river just 30 m down the hill to induce a comatose state.

And the solitude.

It’s surprising so few wander through here.

Surprisingly to date my feet are dry. That contrasts dramatically with the daily soakings on the West Coast. In fact every tramp I’ve been on in recent years.

First tramp forever where no rain has fallen.

Okay, there’s the first-day climb with, I’ve read, 66 switchbacks, and then the unnamed saddle between Lake Stanley and the Anatoki, but neither is full-on arduous. Half the track is remarkably well benched, and the other half is somewhat a root festival, but totally manageable.

It’s on a par with the St James Walkway for lack of real difficulty, so no real reason there are not many more doing the circuit in the middle of summer.

The walk out to the car park from the last hut was my biggest day of this trip.

DOC states it’s seven hours of walking, and that meant an early start. That turned out to be just after 8 am.

My hopes were to get to the road in by 2 pm, then get a quick ride to Takaka, then another back up the highway to my car that would give me enough time to drive to the bottom of Mount Owen.


It was 3 pm before I was down the hill.

5 pm before I made it to Takaka, with a ride about half the way. Many do not enjoy walking for considerable distances on deserted gravel roads.

Then a significant wait for a ride up the highway.

In the way these things happen, when I was finally picked up for the 20 km lift up to my dirt road turn off, the guys insisted taking me the 3 or 4 km up the gravel road, so I only had to walk the kilometre or so up the rougher dirt road to the car park where my car had sat patiently for six days. Thanks guys!!

That meant it was almost 7 pm.

What to do? It’s some ways to Mt Owen. I don’t really want to set up camp in two hours time.

I drove back to Takaka for some fresh food, and then, the road almost clear of other vehicles, I ended up at home in Nelson less than two hours later. It was still light.

And yes, having walked about 22 km, my body was feeling the effects.

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