This Dingle Burn idea had me up early.

The weather was great, not a cloud in the sky early on, or later for that matter—just a lovely summer morning.

I was up around 5 30 am to make breakfast and put my soaked tent in my pack.

Despite my early start it took until 7 30 am to get underway. I charged back down the valley as I knew it was four hours back to the start of the climb, then three hours each way to Top Dingle Hut. That time would add up, particularly when there was a 600 m climb up one side and a 500 m drop on the other.

I passed a family with Dad, Mum, an 11-year-old girl, and a five-year-old boy. The kid had been looking at the volcanoes, and I asked him if he had seen any dinosaurs. “Yes, but they are over the back”.

Yeah, others may dispute the volcanoes and even dinosaurs in the vicinity.

Wandering past the car park, I started talking to a guy who stopped his car and turned his engine off. He had been thinking of going up the Canyon Creek track I had just scootered past. “One of the best short walks in the South Island,” he claimed, but instead decided to walk up to the ridgeline with me.

He took me to my car to drop my pack and change into dry shoes, an offer too good to refuse. No pack, just a 1-litre bottle of water.

The east side wasn’t so good as horses had smashed it up, and it didn’t help that a stream seemed to flow down the track for much of the climb up the old four-wheel-drive track. Eventually, it became firmer, but John said go ahead, he was taking a long break, although by that time we were 90% of the way up.

I powered up the rest and over the other side.

Man, what a marvellous view! Worth the effort. The other side wasn’t a bulldozed track that had slipped away, but a well-beaten track through the tussock. Pretty easy walking, even as it got considerably steeper once in the forest.

Down of the grasslands at the bottom, it was a short walk around to the hut. A very nice six-bunker in a decent setting and I wondered why I didn’t bring my whole pack.

The heavy rain predicted for tomorrow looked unlikely as there were still almost no clouds around.

Oh well, I could have slept on one of the bunks, but went back to tackle the hill.

Steep means you make elevation quickly, so that ain’t all bad.

I was back at the hut at 6 30 pm, having had one of the best days of this summer’s tramping.

Tomorrow would be a rest day, like everyone else, just driving. That would be appreciated.

Depending on the weather and availability, I wasn’t sure if I’d end up in Twizel or Mount Cook. Anyway, time for dinner and an early night.

Will sleep well, once again.

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