As usual, it took plenty of time to sort out my food. Most portions were weighed out last night and appropriately aggregated, but breakfasts were yet to be bagged in individual Ziploc bags. I even weigh them, as there is no point in carrying excessive, or insufficient porridge.

All squeezed into my bigger 80 litre pack because, for some reason, I wanted to load 14 days of food aboard. That bulk of food needs to be shoved in compactly.

Despite plenty of huts that I could use each night, likely to be deserted at this time of year immediately prior to Christmas, I’m taking my solo tent because waking in my tent is a joy.

I’ve had a few trips recently to remind me of what not to leave behind.

The weather is predicted to be not as gloomy and grim as what I’ve had recently.

So, another late start.

It was almost 2 pm when I arrived at the locked gate on the Rainbow Road. That meant an unexpected extra hour of slog to get up to the swingbridge over the raging Wairau River. The big river was seriously up due to the recent heavy rain, and some snowmelt, but my initial planning had required me to cross this further down without the assistance of a swingbridge, albeit at a more appropriate crossing point. Might need to re-think my exit from this expedition, even with no further rain.

So it was after 3 pm when I was finally crossing the river, certain that the three hours on the DOC signage to the Lees Creek Hut wasn’t going to be achieved. That heavy pack didn’t allow skipping along.

Very light drizzle accompanied me for much of the day’s efforts, but by the time I’d reached a great camping spot, probably an hour before the hut, that had stopped.

So did I. No hurry.

It’s going to be a long summer of tramping, and no point in overdoing it on the first day.

Also, if I’m carrying my tent, I might as well use it.

Day 2 | Lees River camp 2 →