Crunch day for decisions.

The reality was slowly dawning that these showers were continuing, so going up one of New Zealand’s biggest rivers might not be so sensible.

Time to beat a retreat and find a track with bridges, or maybe just a non-damp sleeping place.

I had all my warm clothes on and looked at my almost packed backpack and the wet shirt, pants, socks, boots and raincoat I was about to wear.


Well, my first mission was to cross Forbes River, which may or may not be up after the previous night’s rain. If it looked like I couldn’t cross where I went across the day before, I could go up further where the river goes underground, that walk would add about a kilometre each way.

The sun was weakly shining close by. It was chilly. Not the tramp to leave both my beanies behind.

Morning or evening showers were forecast, with a “possible” proviso.

I formulated a Plan B, which mainly was beating a retreat.

Forbes River proved actually easier to get across, and I made haste with my rock hopping.

I was feeling social for some reason, so I headed to Mistake Flats Hut, but the hunters were gone. Choppered out yesterday, shortly after I had departed.

Being before lunchtime, just, I thought I’d go and explore away across the Havelock River in the afternoon. Well, if I could get across a braided section I would go up to St Winifreds Hut and across to Eric Hut. Veil Biv could wait until another day, but that would be unlikely.

As it turned out, when I got to the river, it looked beyond crossing. The narrow channel was shooting downstream at a tremendous pace. I followed up the side of the river until it came up against some steep bluffs.

Maybe there was a track, even something from New Zealand Forest Service days.

I climbed for 20 minutes steeply, but it didn’t look likely.

Now I could follow the river downstream and see if it braided at any point.

It split about 200 m downstream of where I first encountered the river, and I managed to scurry across. Too late to go upstream, I decided to visit Curtis Memorial Hut, a memorial to a hunter who had died in the hills in 1979. His parents donated the money to build.

And a lovely hut it was. The most pleasant hut, thanks to two big windows and a view from a slightly elevated location of much of the valley and surrounding hills.

Knowing I could cross the river, my plan was to spend the following day going upstream and visiting the three huts on a day trip, which meant having two nights at Mistake Flats Hut.

I could then visit Murphys Bivvy and go and stay at Carneys Bivvy for a night, or even back at Growler Hut.

Sounds like a plan.

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