Sporadic rain after midnight, but it only really started just before daybreak. Around 100 mm was predicted by the useful yr.no weather report so it might be six hours late.

She’s sure pelting down now!!

The hut warden advised moving my tent because a tree might fall on me. Mature silver beech with undisturbed roots, protected by other trees? Well, I was failed to be convinced.

It was a super noisy night due to the wind, man, it blew big time!!

No obvious tent leaks, but my sleeping bag was damp, particularly where my feet touched the end of the tent.

The tree failed to drop.

I scurried into the hut, and had breakfast in solitude. Plenty of talk when people did start to percolate to the kitchen. A nice bunch.

I spoke to the couple from yesterday who recounted how DOC staff had advised them that the Routeburn was a difficult hike over rough, tough terrain. Just the 40 km day, and they had overtaken me. There was the story of one guy who did a 94 km last day on Te Araroa because he thought he might get a record. He took 74 days from Cape Reinga. We all scratched our heads at the pointlessness of the achievement.

By 11 30 am, the sun was out. Blue skies.

I ended up walking with a couple of German guys who talked philosophy. One wanted to use his experience to change his life, and make more effort and friendliness with strangers and friends.

Plenty of oxygen and exercise can do that.

An Ultimate Hikes guided party shuffled past, maybe 16 walkers and two guides. Off to do the full Greenstone/Routeburn. It’s almost $3000 each if you take the most expensive private room option. They all get a hot shower, clean sheets, and a glass of wine at the end of the day’s walk. And no need to carry a sleeping bag or tent.

Not sure that peloton-style tramping appeals to me yet. Maybe in 10 years’ time.

But then it was time for some solitude, and that lovely walk up to the primitive Steele Creek Hut.

After three nights with plenty of others since McKerrow Island Hut it was time for a break from humanity.

Once at the hut I hung my tent out to dry. I’ll be using it most nights now until I get back to Nelson in a week.

I ate dinner in my slightly damp sleeping bag.

I must’ve gone to sleep while it was still light outside.

Not much in the wind or rain department like the night before.

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