Late evening a guy Peter turned up, and we exchanged stories of excessive exercise, life, and loves.

Good to meet like-minded guy after some time since I had really spoken to anyone.

So far I’d had three nights in paid accommodation in Christchurch, two nights at the free Harper River campsite with a few Te Araroa types, my first night also in a tent at Marble Hill DOC campsite near the Lewis Pass, and most other nights, 12 of them, by myself in DOC huts.

I’d only previously had to share at Moa Stream Hut with the two hunters who came and left in the dark.

That meant that in the morning we chatted on because for someone who spent 12 nights on my lonesome, I could be quite gregarious when meeting a like-minded bloke. We even walked together down to the track turnoff, with Pete off to his car park, and me to where I dumped my car by the side of the gravel road.

My original plan was to go up to Tarn Hut on a track that started not far up the road I was on, but by the time I got the car the hill was shrouded in cloud, with dark clouds all around.

For once, my body told my brain to go home, and I meekly complied.

Shortly after, I was in actual rain, and I managed to cover my car in mud.

Once I used to think the trip from Nelson to Christchurch was a major excursion, but I was in Oxford by 1 30 pm, by which time it was raining steadily and I had my lights on, and I pointed towards home.

I wasn’t thinking that was the last tramping expedition of the summer. On the other hand, it was suddenly Red Light Covid-19 alert, and Omicron wasn’t far away from Nelson.

All in all, it was quite different from what I had envisaged for the day when I had left Black Hill Hut earlier in the morning.

Still light when I made it home, thanks to an almost complete lack of other vehicles on the road.

← Day 18 | Black Hill Hut, night 2