Drizzle. Rain.

Heavy rain.



It started calm enough, and I thought I’d make a dash for the next hut. Rain was forecast, but one of the guys said it was for 10 am.

I don’t mind walking in rain, as long as I can get to a decent hut for a partial dry out. I also taken the precaution of fitting two internal liner plastic bags. Yeah, two. One tends to get punctured when shoving things into the pack.

Let’s see how that works.

Answer: did good today.

Track building commenced in 1871 to take cattle from the Landsborough and Cascade to the Whataroa stockyards, in the middle of the goldfields, back then a two week journey. They estimate about 50,000 cattle traipsed it, mostly in mobs of about 200.

It’s in pretty good nick much of the way with not too much gradient. Except for the washouts, and a few windfalls that required removing my pack, and crawling for a while, pack dragged behind.

Shortly after 10 am the drizzle began, but I was in forest for the most part, and had my peaked cap to avoid rain on my glasses.

Eventually rain set in to hasten movement, particularly as I became wetter, actually soaked, and with the rain came a major temperature drop of about 8° C.

Arrived after about four hours, and managed to avoid the serious rain/hail that came down later. Just as well I made good time.

I warmed up with a few cups of soup, then retired to my sleeping bag for a while, listening to occasional kākā calling to each other around the clearing where the hut is.

Suddenly I’m in a hut by myself. Yay!!

I’m discovering that while quite a few people head into Blue River Hut, it’s only two hours from the road, fewer make it along the Cattle Trail. It could be used more as the track is as stated very easy to walk along, just the occasional up-and-down bit, mostly at the streams. The crossings might potentially be an issue, but the heavy rain hadn’t happened yet when I traipsed through. Some creeks may have become impassable for a while.

Not sure much will dry by tomorrow, the rain is supposed to have stopped by then with four or so fine days to follow. Fingers crossed.

The sign on the track states nine hours to the next hut, and I know more creek crossings are involved.

My theory is the hills are steep with a limited catchment, so any creek won’t be too hard to cross.

Obviously gonna see how that theory pans out.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Maori Saddle Hut

Set in a small clearing just off the track. Plenty of kaka and kakariki around. | Maori Saddle Hut, Haast Paringa Cattle Trail
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