The morning in town, going out for breakfast, and then snatching some lunch.

The afternoon shouldering my pack once again.

Food supply, ie, weight replenished after 24 hours in Te Anau, and I picked up some more dehydrated food I had posted myself, before I left Nelson. I might not have had much sustenance left in my pack after my West Coast trip, but now a full 10 days’ supply is aboard.

It was noticeable.

I had to organise some things in town, the bank, etc, so rather than hitching up to The Divide I was the solitary passenger on the last shuttle bus for the day, leaving after 1 pm. The driver was off to Milford to pick up a load of Milford Track trampers.

That pack felt heavy as I trudged up towards Key Summit, an almost 300 m rise. Plenty of day trippers about, but the other trampers had already done their thing. A good swag were down in The Divide carpark, maybe 30 trampers milling about waiting for transportation to arrive, having traipsed out from Lake Mackenzie Hut.

Our jovial spirits were somewhat curtailed as this apparently was the most appropriate time to empty the septic tank. We were all severely gassed as I laced up my boots.

I stopped at Howden Hut for a while, and made the acquaintance of some Te Araroa walkers who were heading south, having decided on the Routeburn Track in preference to the bottom part of the Greenstone Track. The two had hitched from Glenorchy, walked most of the Routeburn, and were now also heading for McKeller Hut.

Man, that’s quite a day, more than 40 km of walking.

I’d forgotten the top of the Greenstone River valley was so spectacular. The others sped on past as I tried to take one decent image for the day.

It’s supposed to be stormy tonight, with maybe 100 mm of rain from midnight.

The hut is close to capacity, so I found a flattish spot to whack my tent up. I guess I can always move to the kitchen if it becomes too wild.

Day 1 on this new adventure. Fortunately I have the capacity to deal with the other punters who, of course, have entirely different interests and expectations.

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