Planning! An important aspect of tramping.

I planned to leave Nelson by 4 pm yesterday, but it was close to 5 pm by the time I finally got away. Man, the only time Nelson ever has traffic! That meant I only made it to Murchison for the night, not an hour further on to Reefton.

I wanted to start walking by 12 pm, but after I had a break in Reefton and lunch, it was 1 pm by the time I made it to the Lake Stream Route carpark. Except when I looked at the time after rearranging my pack and lacing my boots it was already after 2 pm.

The sign stated 3 hours 30 minutes to the hut, but with windfalls, the generally overgrown track, and some mucking around en route, well, that managed to drag out. Hooray for summer daylight hours!

But none of that mattered.

The sun was shining, and I was finally walking with a pack on my back, after my full year being sedentary.

Despite my preparation, I discovered my pack had a few omissions, but that was what the overnighter was all about.

Getting back up to the hills, and working out what was actually working with my gear.

So, that’s all very well, but I was feeling mightily relieved to spot the tiny white bivvy from across the soggy substrate near the unnamed lake. Maybe it’s Lake Lake.

The hut was very tidy. The last occupants were the weekend before, ie, Waitangi Weekend. It looked like not so many visit, but those that do fit into various camps.

Some climb via Klondike Track, starting about 3 km further up the valley, then follow the ridge for a few kilometres before dropping down into the cute basin where the huts is. Actually, that’s not exactly easy because the hut is surrounded by impressive cliffs.

Others are wanting to venture past the bigger lake up on the tops, to Top Waitahu Hut, a task that is its own Little Adventure judging by the hut book entries.

Disappointed hunters mention the lack of deer, and only some non-trophy chamois sighted. I saw no deer sign whatsoever, with broadleaf un-nibbled, pseudopanax on the rebound. The hunters claimed the poison 1080 is the cause, but helicopter shooting has to play a big part. That, and the inhospitablity of a deep, damp, shaded valley.

Only a smattering of nosy trampers like myself does a quick in and out.

One thing for sure, I’m in for a good sleep.

Day 2 | Greymouth: my shortest ever tramp →