It’s only been a few weeks since I was up Mt Fell thinking it would be my last trip for a while and all of a sudden there’s a long weekend.

If I played it right I could extend it this side of the weekend and have another decent trip. To me five nights makes a much better break.

Still, there were things to finish, work for one, and despite being unable to keep my eyes open and having to drop into bed before the work was complete, it all came to a conclusion by 10 in the morning. Invoice sent.

Now time to organise my trip.

I’ve arranged a system of these days in my accommodation, all my tramping clothes in one place, my gear in another, makes packing so much easier. I was on a sprint to get it all sorted, with the thought I wasn’t keen to leave anything important behind. Rushing and thoroughness seldom go together, I guess I’ll find out in the next few days whether I’ve omitted anything.

I had a list of things needed from the supermarket, but T who was my ride up to St Arnaud was patient as I did a quick round with my list.

It was one of those glorious Nelson autumn days, a haze of high cloud but mostly clear, the leaves turning with various hues of gold and red, the countryside was a splendid picture. You sometimes forget there’s an outside world when you spend the day staring into a screen.

This all looks so familiar up at Lake Rotoiti as we headed up the Mt Robert carpark Road, beech trees, the lake, those mountain slopes still there after my time elsewhere.

Time to go so it was, thanks mate, and pack donned.

It was amazing how light my pack was without the tent and sleeping mat I’ve been carrying for most of this summer, and last, if I thought about it.

T gets in his car to drive away. Then he stops, better take this, he says, my substantial supermarket load in the front seat.

Oh, that makes a difference, not so lightweight after all.

It’s a beautiful wander around the edge of the lake, I get a couple of phone calls and suddenly it’s 3 pm. How long to the hut again?

Just the 2.5 hours, no sweat whatsoever.

I meet a few people walking out, they’ve been up Angelus which is now right on the tourist trail, somewhat more energetic than some might imagine, but last night the hut was full I hear.

Speaking for huts, I’m heading to Coldwater, not exactly on the main route but there are a few already there apparently. When I arrived there is a full family, that’s mum and dad and their five children, 16 to 9, a couple, a solitary fisherman getting the last weekend of the fishing season in, and three Dutch guys out the front.

That makes it 11 bodies and it’s a 10 person hut. And me.

But the Dutch guys are camping so it’s all cosy enough.

This should be quite a social evening.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Coldwater Hut

View from the hut. | Coldwater Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
Day 2 | Cupola Hut, up amongst the mountain tops →