Rain last night, at times heavy and I hear the distinct call of the male greater spotted kiwi on three occasions, a high-pitched squawk that is on repeat 16 and 17 times the cycles I counted, maybe he’s trying to find the hut, it doesn’t seem pleasant out there, I’m pleased to be in this damp little wooden tent despite the condensation issue.

3° C this morning, ie, not warm, that’s inside the hut, slightly warmer in my sleeping bag with the soon to be fixed zip, not sure I require that amount of ventilation.

The day, well, blue sky and sunny patches on the Canterbury side, although with that alpine a haze that hints of winter and snow rather than swimming in sunny pools, the other side gloomy, bleak, not looking good so for self-propelled travel.

I have a cup of instant cappuccino, then another, to contemplate the options.

Continuing over the pass might not be so bad, three hours of wetness and struggle down a steep creek with bush bashing, climbing around gullies, etc, required, then crossing the potentially huge Taramakau River, shouldn’t be too bad up here, and an hour’s easy walk to Kiwi Hut. The problem then is tomorrow, at least one crossing of the Taramakau, I did three crossings last time due to banks washing away, that would be a big-time bush bash through matagouri, etc, then two other rivers, the Otehake then the Otira as a finale, getting out at lunchtime with wet boots guaranteed and no real place to hitch hike to Christchurch when down on the highway at Aitkens.

Plan B is to return, an hour of clambering back down the creek, no real problem until crossing the Poulter River just past the hut, would have some water in it now, and then to Casey Hut for the night. Lots of firewood. And tomorrow heading back to Andrews Shelter for another night, via a different route, further down the Poulter valley and escaping over Binser Saddle. Then the next day walking down the gravel road to the highway and a decent place to hitch to Christchurch, at the Mount White turn off.

Plan B is further, a day longer, but I have enough food, two nights, and there is only one major river crossing with a good hut adjacent. Lots more walking but it’s easy style, or on a grassy quad bike track, you can really make pace.

Heavy rain is forecast for later in the day, seems of already made up my mind as I wait for my porridge too cool. Outside: Looking wintery.

It always seems less distance when you backtrack, certainly seemed so today. Maybe I had a better idea about the line to take when there was no official track, that’s getting down the first 2.5 km from the bivvy following the river and then later crossing the Poulter River gravel and rock beds.

I was wearing the full accoutrement, at least to start, it was up to 5° C but a fair gale howling past: over-trou with gaiters, that’s standard issue for me on this trip, to woollen tops not one, my Polartec vest, raincoat, still in good working order, two beanies, my usual thin one and a thick version, and not forgetting some Thinsulate gloves. The gloves and second hat came off before the main climb of the day, not too much, perhaps 10 minutes, most was on a downhill slope.

The waterfall at the lake was fuller, but not reflected into the rippled lake surface. Additional water, ie, some, in the Poulter but not as much as the Minchin Stream higher up. I didn’t miss out on water however, 20 minutes from the hut it started to rain more persistently, it had wavered all on and off at low volume all day. A few minutes after arrival at Casey Hut the deluge really started.

There will be creeks to cross tomorrow but nothing thankfully potentially chest deep like the Taramakau is likely to be.

Yup, finally, big rain has arrived.

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