A slow start because of the heavy cloud cover and some fine drizzle. It was very quiet at Carlyle Hut, except for the cheery birds singing away. It seems those traps are helping to keep stoat and rat numbers down.

The volunteers from the Conservation Trust who regularly monitor the stoat traps also have possum and feral cat traps, and seem to dispatch a few.

I often occupy myself with some pruning on my travels. Not much trimming was needed on this track, but it’s great to have my lightweight folding saw.

The return trip down the valley seemed so much easier, perhaps because of the downward aspect. And my boots were already wet from the stream crossings the day before.

Then, rather than scrambling down the unmarked goat track I ventured up on, I just tootled along the four-wheel-drive track that while more circuitous, was gentler on my mind and body. No more divets were collected on my hands.

The Carlyle is a beautiful little valley, particularly the higher half, and that was about the right amount of effort required.

I cruised into Hanmer Springs, after stopping and trying to work out how to get into Tutu Stream to visit the hut there, but it won’t be this trip. A few fresh supplies in Hanmer, but time was marching on, and I needed to be as well.

My next objective was Stony Stream Bivvy, not far from Scotties Hut on the St James Cycle Track, and I had this additional 14 km walk for the afternoon on a relatively flat four-wheel-drive track to crack out.

After some brighter moments it started drizzling while I was pacing around Hanmer, but I didn’t hang around and shot over Jacks Pass into the Clarence River Valley and drove up to the start of the St James Cycleway. Actually, I cheated and drove on a bit to get quicker access, and cut an hour off the time.

It was pretty miserable when I set off, but slowly it improved, and the track surface helped speed. Four hours later I found I was in Scotties Hut on my lonesome, despite two cyclists going past me on the track fairly late in the day.

They were too interested in each other to acknowledge my forlorn presence.

No petrol in the tank to continue on, but as they say, “Tomorrow is another day.”

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Scotties Hut

An old musterers' hut has been taken over by DOC. | Scotties Hut, St James Cycleway
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