After a big day’s walking yesterday I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get moving in the morning.

When I did, I realised that not only was I opposite the impressive Lennox Falls, but I was close to the track up to Earnslaw Hut.

That did not look much of a climb, why not go up there for a visit? I could leave my pack at the bottom.

Still making a Moderate Effort. (Yeah, I’m not likely to ever traipse around here again, so I’d better make the most of it. One of my basic travel philosophies.)

That meant crossing the less than knee deep Rees River, twice. Other obstacles: five electric fences, that didn’t seem to be live, and more bogs.

The track is well benched. It must’ve been built to get sheep up to Kea Basin. It meandered around rather gently, rather than a direct attack on the hill.

The old hut was of an indeterminable age, at least early 1950s, made from bush timber framing, although it did have milled flooring. The upper bunks were still hessian sacks.

I continued on to the rock bivvies, one of which was quite dry due to the substantial overhead. Plenty of ventilation on offer, you wouldn’t suffer from oxygen deprivation.

Mount Earnslaw can be climbed from there, although there is also a track from the west that is probably a better proposition.

Plenty of narrow waterfalls, and steep bluffs seen from the bowl of Kea Basin.

I mucked around for a while so was almost 3 pm by the time I was reunited with my pack on the valley floor.

From the river terrace the swingbridge near where I camped the night before was clearly visible. I certainly hadn’t made much progress towards my destination for the evening, and still had to re-cross the river. I managed to skip the bogs this time, plotting a route from some elevation, but not the electric fences. I guess the four-wire version was not live, or I would have found out.

No cattle in the valley for a while judging by the length of grass, and lack of calling cards.

Once back on the track it was super cruisy on the flats, the path well beaten. Not long until the suspension bridge, and finally into the forest, and officially off the farmland and into Mount Aspiring National Park.

And what forest! The track was through club moss, and was very scenic, climbing high above the river.

I met a young New Zealand couple intent for Earnslaw Hut, now late in the afternoon, and was thinking, yeah, that’s quite a ways still. Plenty of daylight, I guess.

I found an excellent campsite at the hut, knowing that rain was forecast for the early morning.

“A weather bomb is about to hit,” warned one concerned tramper.

Humm, just your average day in the mountains was my unexpressed thoughts.

The evening was beautiful. The massively rugged mountain backdrop to the north caught the last of the sun’s rays.

None of this track or the hut seemed familiar, even though I have walked it as my very first multi-day solo walk back as a 20 year old.

No memories, although to be fair, it has been a while.

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