My leg felt considerably better in the morning.

Blue sky.

Time for two muesli bars to match last night’s dinner and two instant coffee sachets.

No mucking around, I was out of there.

I decided to leave my wool pants on and my wool hoodie. My alpine pants and raincoat were soaking wet to match my socks and boots.

I hobbled down to the river. The hills were not entirely misty, but they looked absolutely mysterious. It’s a wonderful valley.

Once packed up and my now heavier pack on my back due to the water from the rain, I felt okay.

But first there was an obstacle. 100 m of a steep face with fallen trees to hurdle. It was clearly easier on the other side. At least the creek looked like it was a bit lower than yesterday. I went downstream 100 m to where I needed to cross back. That didn’t look very good, and a third of the way across, I bailed.

Back up the creek and across for what did turn out to be the last time getting my feet wet, then down on the original side with the trees.

Only a small section of bush lawyer, but I didn’t need to take my pack off. It can’t have been too bad.

Then, at the crossing point with the big markers, I looked back and saw that a few metres further downstream than I’d gone, well, 15 m, I could’ve got through easily enough.

But now I was on a properly cut track that looked like it had once been bulldozed. I left the creek for a slow climb up to a low saddle.

At one point in some sphagnum, I took a half step with my gammy leg and heard another pinging.

Now it wasn’t so easy to stagger on.

But soon, I was out in pastureland on a four-wheel-drive track, then painfully slowly out on a farm track.

I’ve seen a farm vehicle come up the road from on high and hoped they had something that would delay their return.


I was still 20 minutes from getting down when they departed the scene.

At least the last 5 km was on the smoothest and flattest road I’d ever walked on, albeit with electric fences on both sides. There were few places to rest.

I hobbled on, much of the time with my eyes shut from tiredness.

But as things both good and bad eventually come to an end, first, the bridge of the rampant Matakitaki River was crossed and then the car park was only 300 m further on.

It had taken five hours to walk what is usually two hours.

Good to have my waterlogged pack off my back and boots removed.

Only 38 km to the main road.

Maybe I’d stay in Murchison, being really too exhausted to drive much further.

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