I took 10 hours with my 6.5 hour walk. Might sleep well again tonight.
This morning I really did want to get away early to make the most of the low tide. Managed to depart just after 7 30 am with now a few high clouds, but quite the best weather since my Callery Creek day almost a week ago.
It took more than an hour to get to Hacket River, where I checked out a small campsite on the north side. Nice enough, was sheltered from the worst of the wind, but a few too many sandflies in the environs.
Wet feet crossing the river once again. Best to cross swift flowing rivers with uneven bottom with boots still on. Bare feet really aren’t an option.
The terrain changed for a relatively easy gravel in varying sizes, to rock hopping, before long.
With the tide way out I took to the old bulldozed track, still discernible in the boulders. Can’t say it was anything like walking on a standard bulldozed track. This one has been subject to wave action for around 45 years, but the huge boulders were mostly cleared, or gone around.
That went almost as far as Awarua Point, where the tide sometimes dictated the route further up the shore.
Once there I stopped for lunch. No point scurrying on with only a couple of hours to high tide.
Along that section from Hacket River to Awarua Point I had two wildlife sightings at close range: a young deer munching on the lower edge of the grass, and shortly after a Fiordland crested penguin hopping its way into the shelter of the kiekie and flax.
I was lucky the wind direction was right, and it was fair howling, the wind that is. The fawn didn’t look too old, it still took off in a hurry when I finally whistled.
The penguin must be one of the first coming ashore to moult. Apparently they stand around in the forest for a month waiting for their new feathers to grow out. It certainly look corpulent and with its crazy white nutty old professor eyebrows.
Just before reaching the point I could look back and see the Gorge River rock distinctly with probably the other side of Barn Bay faintly in the distance.
I guess for the energetic it’s only one big day from Barn Bay to Gorge River, then another big day to Big Bay.
I’ve taken nine days now from Barn Bay.
After Awarua Point the Darran Range with Tutoko, 2723 m, came into view, plus some snow-covered mountains in the Red Hills.
The wind and waves picked up.
It was just on 12 noon. No requirement to bustle on.
Instead, I watched black gulls doing their thing with the wind.
As it turned out this last section, down to the first gravel beach was the hardest section of the coast of the lot to negotiate. With the tide high I had less of the shore to choose, but it was mostly big rock hopping for a long while.
The rock was mostly grippy and solid for my feet, except where it wasn’t.
Crayfish Point was easy enough to get over, just follow the bulldozer track, and I added a couple of pink plastic ribbon markers for the track.
Rock hopping did go on for most of the afternoon, but I took some breaks, actually a whole lot to give my concentration a break.
When I reached the end of the first gravel beach, finally, a quad bike track started up to service some rat/stoat traps. That made progress considerably speedier.
Soon I popped out on the main Big Bay beach.
I thought that three hours after high tide I might be able to get across the Awarua River, it’s mostly estuary, not a big draining river, and so it proved, only knee deep.
And then a short cruise down the beach to hit the track to the hut. No one else home.
Maybe I’ll stay a couple of nights to recover.
The sun is still out and beating in. The hut is sure toasty.
How different from last night’s rain and cold.