Gloomy start. By the time I packed up, it was drizzling.

My ten-day weather forecast had predicted rain for this afternoon. I find the website has been relatively reliable over the years. Certainly better than the New Zealand official Metservice, and has forecasts for many specific huts in New Zealand as part of the 4 million localities they report for around the world. It’s always baffled me as to why the Norwegians have a better idea about our weather than the locals, but maybe the Kiwis are more interested in what happens in the big cities.

Was a slow retrace of my steps up to Styx Saddle due to the slippery rocks. Once out of the bush the big red tussock clumps applied plenty of water to my undercarriage, but the drizzle persisted, so my top half didn’t miss out.

The formed track continued up the Arahura River which has narrowed considerably. I found myself clambering over greasy bedrock on occasion.

By the time I spotted the swingbridge the rain was steadier, and the clouds shrouded the hills. A few waterfalls were doing their thing with increasing intensity.

The swingbridge would be fun on a dry day, it’s over a deep rocky chasm. For some reason, the top of my pack became entangled in wires as I tried to scurry onto the ladder on the other side. The rain was coming down, I was on the top of a slippery ladder. I was getting sick of this rain thing.

Yes, that is now rain. Fortunately, the hut wasn’t so far away. Time for lunch.

The rain really started to come in for a few hours, but by 5 pm it had stopped and cleared somewhat.

Nothing like having a rainy day afternoon in a cosy sleeping bag, reading a book. I guess that’s what plenty of people do on their summer holidays, ie, reading a book, while lying on a bed. I wasn’t complaining.

If the rain clears up the upper Arahura River should be able to be crossed, so I will continue to Park Morpeth Hut over Browning Pass/Noti Raureki tomorrow, and then come back the day after.

Then how to get out of the valley. At the moment I was thinking of the Newton Range ridge to the Mount Brown Hut, as it only needs one river crossing at Grassy Flat.

If the weather clears up for a few days, I prefer to go back down the Arahura. But I’m not keen on waiting for Staircase Creek to become crossable.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Harman Hut

Harman Hut is located on a flat area near a river junction.  | Harman Hut, Arahura River, West Coast
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