As predicted a weak cold front moved through in the morning bringing some drizzle, hardly qualifying as rain. That continued until 12 noon when a shadow was noted.

I had put my tent undercover to drain, and everything else in the hut kitchen area, and settled in for a chat, breakfast, including a double round of coffees.

With my ambitions in the area scaled back somewhat I have an extra day’s food, although I ate the extra cheese and nuts at the end of that big day from Steele Creek Hut to avoid confrontation with the sandflies while engaged with any cooking.

It was interesting the diversity of the occupants who were hanging around, I guess, because I mentioned it would clear up around lunchtime, which it did, and we knew it only took four hours to get to the Dart Hut.

Two older Australians left early while still drizzling, an Australian/Canadian couple were next leaving, a Polish guy who was mostly riding his bike around New Zealand, and an Australian pair of brothers.

I wasn’t the last to leave, but the final three caught up, and we wandered through the upper section of the valley, and the short climb to the Rees Saddle together.

Good to have an extended chat with the cheeriest tramper I’ve ever encountered, possibly, about matters various.

Then I went higher up to see if I could rediscover where I have taken a panorama back when I first walked the track when I was 19. Yes, that’s it.

But the Herre Glacier looks different, and will be interesting to compare the Marshall Glacier after a few decades from the old photographs.

Now there was plenty of blue in the sky, and it was surprisingly warm. Looks like my weather prediction was right, although no shock that after a cold front you get some fine weather for a few days.

I took my time coming down Snowy Creek because it is so spectacular. Huge house-sized chunks of gneiss in the rocky gorge, with the track 50 m above most of the way. It’s clear that shrubbery has a short half life due to spring avalanches. This is a ridiculously dangerous route at that time, probably into November, with all but the first hour of the walk today enormously avalanche prone.

On the other side are dramatic sheets of bare rock.

Before you get to the swingbridge that you need to cross to get to Dart Hut there’s a few campsites around a tap, toilet and some picnic tables. I I parked up in an absolutely sweet spot in the forest.

Tent pegs straight in, level, on a bed of mountain beech leaves. Just the one tree root to avoid.

With all that oxygen and exercise during the day there is no problem about sleeping. I’m spending two nights here so I can wander the 10 km up to Cascade Saddle. I want to look down on the Matukituki valley and Aspiring Hut.

I looked back on my itinerary and realised my last rest day was in Big Bay Hut now 11 days ago. I’ve done some extensive marching since then. Gotta be good for you.

Only two more nights to go.

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