Up early, in the dark.

It would be a big day, although I had no idea what I would do.

It was completely foggy with limited visibility outside first up, although the weather forecast was much better — fine.

When I later went outside to dump the remnants of my water, I spotted a young stag about 100 m from the hut, just up on a grassy fan. He stayed for a while as if to ask what had happened to his young girlfriend that the hunters had shot. Then he sadly wheeled around and quickly disappeared over the ridge.

That was a melancholy start to the day.

The Forbes River was way down, but still enough to rinse my socks again.

I made it to the base of Murphys Stream around 8 am, dumped my pack, and made reasonable progress for a while. The “track” shown on the map only exists once you get up the bouldery river to the base of a steep climb and then for much of the rest of the way to the hut, as well as a short section over some rocks, but for the most part you just bash up the steep and chunky creek bed.

Wet feet, but it’s not easy to cross the river much. I mostly stayed on the true left. For once, my upper body had plenty of work, hauling myself up the rocky channel. It was like climbing over a jumble of stacked cars.

I got to a point where I couldn’t see a route ahead and found my face right by an old Permolat marker dangling from the shrubbery.

Oh, I now have to go up that!

It was a steep climb, and while a few people go up the stream the numbers are certainly low.

DOC no longer maintains the track, and while it’s almost able to be followed on the ground, or it might just be up a slip, the vegetation has mostly overgrown it. But the shrubbery provides plenty to drag yourself up.

At times it is quite steep, something that didn’t really bother me on the way up, but I certainly noticed it on the way down. Eventually, I dropped over a ridge, having been climbing around a serious gorge, and it was back with river bashing, although not steep for that section.

Once again, I wondered where to go and noticed a DOC marker pole, and the bivvy was just out of sight, on a river terrace.

I was the first name in the book for four months, ie, back in November.

The sun was out. I took in the landscape for a while and ate an early lunch.

I had thought the name “Easy Col”, on the direct route over to Forbes Biv, was sarcastic, but maybe it’s the truth. On the other hand, it’s hard scrub beyond the hut with plenty of speargrass in the offing.

It took an hour less on the way back to my pack. I enjoyed knowing where I should be going.

I twisted my knee at some point, plus the amount of the day taken, meant I left Carneys Bivvies for another day. Or never.

Instead, I plodded slowly down to Growler Hut, noting I could still see Mistake Flats and Curtis Huts in the afternoon sunlight, almost until I reached a vacant hut.

Just the way I like it.

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