Well, you already know where this expedition ends, in my own bed, clean body, clean sheets, but with everything from the trip scattered elsewhere.

I was sure tired, dog tired.

I’ve done the Mt Cedric route a few times so there were few surprises with the exertion required.

You start just behind the Sabine Hut toilets and just spend most of the morning climbing.

Relentlessly, remorselessly.

The first part is in red beech forest, the black tree trunks obvious, but to be truthful I’m more prone to stare at the cliched carpet of dead leaves on the slope and the roots on top of the surface, and that’s because with the prominent incline they are right in front of my face.

After about 500 m or so climbing the vegetation changes to mountain beech predominantly and the slope isn’t quite as extreme. Time for some slightly easier walking.

And then the forest edge is gained, an abrupt transition to red tussock with areas of snow tussock. The climbing continues up to Mt Cedric which is really just a prominent hump on the end of a ridge.

There’s still another 300 m to be gained in altitude, it’s often rock hopping.

What seemed like was going to be a great day weather-wise with views right up the Sabine to Waiau Pass, and the approach to Moss Pass, over Lake Rotoroa to Tiramea Saddle, Bull Creek, Mole Saddle, suddenly clouded over, wispy, err, clouds flying by at pace and a very mysterioso atmosphere descending.

Still, once I finally reached the top of the ridge near Lake Angelus, there was Angelus Peak, 2075 m, in clear view and in fact the whole Marlborough side of the world didn’t have a cloud.

I scurried on down to the hut, plenty of rock hopping involved. A lone speck with a pack appeared to be coming over Sunset Saddle and when we met at the hut for a late lunch it’s J, who I met on Day 3, descending from Cupola. He had roamed around the Travers Valley, much less populated than the Blue Lake side over the weekend. He’s off for food replenishment at St Arnaud via Lakehead Hut, then another eight days based more on the D’Urville side of things this time.

No time to muck around, it’s 1 30 pm, and the sign says six hours to the car park.

I’ve left a message asking to be picked up at 6 pm at the car park but so far no response.

More scurrying over rock fields on a slope.

I’m out of the cloud, there is Tasman Bay and eventually a great view down the Wairau valley.

Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the stupid, hard work decisions you can make in a free-form tramp that doesn’t have a rigid timetable. Some over the weekend had a water taxi/ferry to catch that meant major time pressure to get to wherever each evening. It would be hard for them to spend an hour for instance at the top of Moss Pass.

I knew today was under pressure to keep moving but I still managed to have 20 minutes here and there as required, have a brief chat with those coming the other direction, well, once I made it to Lake Angelus, I was on my own until then.

I tried to confirm my pickup but despite indications I was connected to the rest of the universe even a text failed to be delivered and after a few attempts I noticed that my phone battery was in the red zone.

I can handle uncertainty.

No worries.

As a fallback if my battery completely died I could always walk another 5 km over to St Arnaud and a cosy backpackers.

The view from Robert Ridge as the sun slowly descended was wondrous, that is why I wanted to put in the effort, it wouldn’t be the same just wandering through more forest. If you have the opportunity to get up high, well, why not?

I’d had plenty of up at Cupola, Travers Saddle, Moss Pass and now today.

It’s exhilarating up high, no distractions, just wandering along, this time without much in my pack.

It turned out there was a big 1700 m climbing for the day, 24 km according to my GPS which made it 50 km more or less, in wet boots, over the previous two days.

Eventually I was close enough to civilisation for a text barrage, and I made it into the car park a few minutes before six.

T had to speed from Nelson so it was entirely dark when I saw some lights bumping their way up the gravel road.

So, six nights out, for once without my tent, only the one night without companions, and that socialisation-in-a-hurry experience with the 21-into-16 bunk situation up at Blue Lake.

Four big climbs.

Seven great days.

← Day 6 | Sabine Hut, big day down the D'Urville valley