Unlike last night, when the drizzle turned into a shower, the morning had not a cloud to offer. Better make the most of it.

I was keen to see if I could locate an old deer cullers camp that Nick had told me about.

What a great idea to walk to the top end of the basin. The lower, more shady areas down by the stream were covered in flowering Aciphylla, spear grass, and best avoided.

Instead, I circled high, pulling out an occasional conifer that had escaped the eyes of the volunteers who had recently sawn down plenty of taller than head height specimens.

No problem finding the campsite with its big yellow PVC tarpaulin lying on the ground in fairly poor condition. Plenty of rusty cans still around.

After a while of watching the Moon set, and searching unsuccessfully for sightings of large herbivores, I turned back.

The section down to the waterfall is fantastic. Easy walking and open mountain beech forest.

Lunch at the waterfall, and while the sun was out I was not tempted for a quick shower. Solo trampers tend to be oblivious of their own pong.

One big windfall to get around, then just steady descent.

From the Branch River crossing I come through not much more than 24-hours before, it was an hour romp to Siberia Hut, at least according to the DOC sign.

Not quite, because of dozens of beach saplings lying across the track. Not quite as speedy as envisaged.

Usually in these circumstances where it is possible to get frustrated with the slow rate of progress I tend to ignore my timekeeper and just shuffle on. The philosophy is that each step gets you one step closer, and that is some consolation where the saplings tended to come in closely spaced clumps, and the steepness was not encouraging climbing above or below. Just use my long legs and gymnastic ability to go over the top. Way too many to consider hacking my way through.

Siberia Hut was empty, although I’d been preparing for meeting civilisation once again. Not exactly disappointed.

Man, I felt weary. I’ve now just had four vigorous days on the go, but my pack still feels just as heavy, as full as when I set out. My shoulders are feeling at.

Conked out solid.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Siberia Hut

Surrounded by beech and conifer forest. |  Siberia Hut, Branch River, Marlborough
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