A huge gust of wind woke me at 4 am, and I could hear the rain on the roof.

Not sounding great.

I was resigned to a rest day anyway, maybe it would improve.

9 am and the drizzle had stopped, and the sky slowly cleared, even if the wind continued.

By lunchtime, it was blue skies, and any hint of rain had disappeared.

I watched a couple of small waterfalls on the other side of the Havelock River, but in the course of the morning, they both disappeared. It’s steep country, so the run-off is fast.

On the other hand, the Havelock River has a substantial catchment further upstream, so the main river could remain high for a while.

I’d first need to cross the Forbes River and could then get to Mistake Flats Hut just on the other side, but if I wanted to go beyond, and I did, I would need to get over the Havelock River.

I was soon going to find out.

The braided nature makes river crossing easier, the valley is fairly flat, so I thought the flow might not be super swift. I was about to find that only one of these assertions was correct.

It was Waitangi Day, which was the anniversary of my return to New Zealand. Ten big years since I arrived back in the country, and a bit has happened.

Tramping-wise, I’ve packed in more than five decent tramps a year, making the most of my Backcountry Hut Pass.

One of the perks of self-employment is choosing to forego income.

The opportunity to explore New Zealand was a major incentive to return, and I am making the most of that.

I sat under the veranda at the picnic table. I had needed to clean it from the deep deposits left by what had been perched on a rope, now moved, directly above the table.

It was a lovely afternoon, hot, but the wind was still pumping in. No clouds remained on the mountains in the vicinity, but there were still a few right up at the headwaters where some glaciers were visible.

It should be settled weather for a while.

Suddenly nine four-wheel drives arrived for lunch. There were down from Northland on a backcountry rampage, but they were careful to keep to the tracks, they assured me. It seemed very quiet once they left.

Just before dinner, a hunter and his son arrived in a more beaten-up four-wheel drive. They were anticipating four nights up here so I might see them again, although their mission was to find tahr. I reminded them tahr stay way up, like up above 1800 m, so they’d have plenty of climbing ahead of them.

They scoured the hut book finding out where tahr had been shot, which didn’t seem the obvious approach to me. I’d go where they hadn’t.

Finally quiet. Time for an early night.

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