Clear skies, but that might not last.

With more than 24 hours since any rain, maybe the rivers would have gone down. The side streams should be no problem, but I was unsure about the Havelock River. I didn’t intend to cross that until the next day.

The hunters didn’t have good news when I ran into them. They hadn’t found any track up Murphys Creek and hadn’t made it to the hut. Instead, they camped along the way. This morning they tried to cross the Forbes River, but the father said, “It was only good for white water rafting”.

Oh well, I’d go and have a look anyway.

As I walked up the valley, I seriously contemplated turning around due to the wind. I was straight into the face of a gale, my eyes started to run, and sometimes it felt like my eyeballs would blow out.

The Forbes River looked bad. Running fast and in a narrow channel. Plenty of white water, as described.

I wandered up the river 100 m or more, finally approaching a bluff. At that point, the river bent, and it looked like a flat gravel bottom. I had my walking stick and plunged through. If it was too deep or swift I could always return.

But just as it got near knee-deep, it got shallower—no major issue. It was flowing fast enough that if much over knee deep it would have been a real issue.

Then it was over the lumpy terrain to Mistake Flat Hut. Two hunters had their gear onto bunks. Probably the guys who were flown in a few days before when a helicopter cut immediately above my head.

It was still sunny, so I thought I’d head the five or so kilometres up the valley to Forbes Biv. (I didn’t seriously consider continuing on upstream and trying to cross the Havelock River despite knowing it had braids.)

It was rock hopping all the way, and I thought I’d cross the river near the bivvy. Lower down the valley, it had looked okay. But it’s a steep valley, and the river near the bivvy is pretty chunky—big rocks and holes.

I walked up past the hut site looking for a likely spot. Maybe I could have crossed, but I kept going. 100 m past the hut around another bend and it looked gravelly, if a little fearsome.

It turned out similar to my crossing further down, but in any case, I was soaked well above my knees.

Once across, now all I needed to do was to find the hut. It’s only marked by a small orange triangle DOC marker on a short stick up on a river terrace. Oh, and exactly where indicated on the Topo map.

A lovely little bivvy in good condition despite being built in 1963 by the New Zealand Forest Service. It has an open fire that is never used, possibly due to the lack of firewood. Two bunks.

After getting water, it was time to get warm. Drizzle had settled in.

I just hoped it passed quickly and I could get back across the river again in the morning.

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