Now, this was a strange day.

It started by me waking early in the spartan Scotties Hut, few facilities including a window with a broken latch that remained open, hence the consequent numerous morning sandflies. As previously mentioned, I have a can of fly spray to subdue them.

Away early, lugging my pack down Edwards River to get to Stony Stream.

I had come past a few years before and not visited the bivvy because the access was unmarked.

One option is to wander down Edwards River, with a couple of dozen river crossings required. With the water level low that proved easy enough although it is a vigorous workout at times clambering over the boulders. It didn’t require any battling with matagouri or broom, fortunately.

Or, you can climb Charles Saddle, and find some faded surveyors’ ribbon at the turnoff for four-wheel-drive explorers at the bottom of the steep bit, drop down to Edwards River, and then head the shorter distance upstream to Stony Stream. That route is well enough marked for those who can discern a short length of faded ribbon at a distance. Not quite as many crossings are required, the river valley is wider, but don’t worry about getting your feet wet, because then you go straight up Stony Stream.

About halfway up Stony Stream some more recent pink ribbon indicated I could take to a newly created track that went cross-country to the bivvy. That beats the increasingly bouldery river course, and avoids a 4 m waterfall you need to climb around. This track work is courtesy of Richard Janssen, who has had a number of trips and numerous hours of effort to whack a 1.6 km path through the broom. A true labour of love and a massive physical effort that makes it relatively straightforward to progress to the two bunk bivvy.

And what a place!

Built around 1962, it is in almost original condition, although Richard has replaced the window, and added some stray rabbit-proof netting to the otherwise canvas lower bunk. Painting is next.

I thought it was a pity that the day before had been already too long, and I didn’t have sufficient oomph to have extended it to stay the night.

I carried my pack on this excursion as I wasn’t so keen just to leave it in the unoccupied hut for half a day, when it was holding everything I needed for my summer season.

At 11 am I saddled up and headed back, this time using the downstream route that proved somewhat less physical than the earlier river route, but did involve climbing Charles Saddle to get back to Scotties Hut for a late lunch.

Time to make tracks and pound out the 14 km back to my car.

I made about 4 km when an incoming four-wheel-drive driver announced my car had a flat tyre. Man, not so clever, I should have replaced the two dodgy tyres before leaving home.

However, about halfway to the Rainbow Road I was picked up by a kind Estonian guy and his girlfriend, and he waited for me to change my wheel, just in case I didn’t have the equipment or strength to loosen the nuts.

All was good.

Except, I now needed to buy two new tyres, and it was late Friday afternoon.

Better head to Christchurch.

Quite a transition from Stony Creek Bivvy to downtown Christchurch.

But that’s the way life can work out.

I crossed my fingers that I would be mobile once again the next day, and able to head towards my new destination in behind Lake Coleridge.

My itinerary was reinvented on the fly, and now I’m heading to visit the Avoca and Wilberforce Rivers for a week or so.

← Day 2 | Scotties Hut Day 4 | Harper River DOC campsite →