With a severe weather warning for the Canterbury river catchments, it seemed prudent to head up to the biggest, and closest hut for a night or two.

An amazingly colourful sunrise, but the showers in the mountains looked ominous.

With no sign of any farmer in a four-wheel drive around, I sat outside the hut to eat breakfast with the wind still doing its thing.

It turned out to take only about three hours to wander up to Growler Hut. The hills were shrouded in drizzle, but it was so warm that it seemed to evaporate before reaching the valley floor.

One braid of the Havelock River, as the upper Rangitata River is known, needed to be crossed and recrossed. The Rangitata gets its name only when the Havelock meets the Clyde River.

Some cross-country to get to the hut via the direct route, with a morning following cattle trails as they know the easiest path with the fewest stones.

Just as I arrived at Growler, the rain finally came down and lashed the reinforced blockwork hut.

First time in a while I’d been early to a hut, and I could have the entire afternoon horizontal, part reading a book and part out to it.

At 5 pm, some blue sky and direct sunlight appeared briefly, but then wind and rain set in.

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