Another hazy but essentially cloudless day.

While sipping coffee and watching two kākāriki flit about in the treetops, it became obvious I should stick around for the day.

What’s the rush?

After recent years of general gloom and rainfall events for my summer tramping Little Adventures, it’s time to just sit around.

For once, not inside a hut waiting for the rain to stop and the rivers to go down.

It is remarkably peaceful, and despite having three nights on my own to date on this trip, I have the company of two robins, and a marauding weka.

And, of course, the picnic table. That’s just about everything I need.

Then, after lunch, Pavel turned up after coming from Anatoki Forks Hut. He started at Farewell Spit a week ago, and was intent on Fiordland. Actually, he’d been aiming for Lonely Lake by the low route from Adelaide Tarn Hut, and had been unable to find the track.

I pointed out there wasn’t one, you just found the cairn and at the riverside, a few strips of electrical tape, and charged up the ridge. He had instead gone up the creek, and not got far, and then lost interest and followed down the Anatoki River. Too late now.

He looked quite scratched up.

I told him about Matiri Ridge rather than Mount Owen, and he said he preferred the idea of solitude. The ridge it would be.

Then two New Zealand trampers arrived on a day trip from Waingaro Hut. Because of the recent 1080 drop in the area we discussed that. To me the evidence is black-and-white. I’d been hearing kākāriki on and off all day. The bloke had heard from someone else that 1080 had wiped out the birdlife somewhere near Nelson Lakes, despite me wondering to myself if 1080 had ever even been used in the area. My Richmond Range/Kahurangi difference argument didn’t sway his opinion, but when I pointed out the nearby kākāriki chattering, I realised he had no idea of what I was talking about.

We changed the topic of conversation.

They were on Day 2 of their expedition, walking out tomorrow. I’m on Day 4 with at least two days to go. I’ve come as far in two days as they did in the morning.

Man, I really slow down on my travels, but I have that old feeling: it’s so hard to get into the forest, and I might never get back here again. Better soak the experience up as much as I can.

There is currently nowhere else I would rather be.

I appreciate what I have.

Some time. My health. An ability to carry a heavy pack.

That can all change, and in a hurry.

Make the most of those heartbeats.

That’s been my motto for the last 10 or 12 years.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Soper Shelter.

Soper Shelter, Lake Stanley exterior 1 | Kahurangi National Park
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