That 3.5-hour tramp in obviously took more out of me than I realised. It’s about 7 km one way, and only climbs 450 m, most of which is in the last quarter, but you have a few stream crossings, on slippery rounded granite boulders, so you have wet feet all the way. The first thing you do is cross the modest Inangahua River.

The track is reasonably well marked, but there are a few patches of red beech saplings to negotiate, the odd right-angled change of trajectory. Some vicious bush lawyer to avoid, a little wading straight up the river.

In short, it’s more of an effort than the DOC time suggests. Some athletes have made it to the hut in around two hours, but that must’ve been when the track was clearer, as much of the time these days you can’t see your feet.

As a shakedown trip, it was certainly a success. I’m less fit than at any time in recent years, despite my lack of pack weight.

And next time I’ll remember my coffee for breakfast.

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