Some animals: a dive bombing native pigeon; kākā and kākāriki unseen; the huge soot black eel; a blue penguin; and later, a tiny fluffy oystercatcher chick.
So, plenty of birds around, particularly in the forest. Lots of deer tracks as well.
The Barn Bay track deteriorated after the musterer’s hut where I was dropped off, and other than a chainsaw for fallen trees I didn’t observe much other maintenance in the 47 years since the bulldozers came through. It was okay for a hiker, but I wouldn’t be keen on driving my expensive four-wheel-drive into Barn Bay due to the numbers of lumpy rocks to get over.
Not sure what I was expecting at Barn Bay, maybe some activity like at Big Bay when I visited a few years ago, but no, err, nothing much.
I came across a newish bach high above the Hope River but no one was home.
Looked as if the vehicle had been winched down to the river, ie, about 8 m down a steep incline that I found no interest in following. Instead I followed the newly created track through a bog. It didn’t take long to bail and decide to go down a ridiculously steep riverbank. It’s times like this when you just need to stop thinking of things like consequences, and just do it.
My first crossing of the Hope River left a trail of mud in the water, but I ended up having another two dips as I made my way towards the beach.
I decided to hightail it around the coast rather than being social, and having any diversion towards the rough airstrip where I knew there were a few more baches. The idea of another 500 m each way, and a further two river crossings, plus the knowledge that low tide was around 1 40 pm keep me motivated to rock hop on.
I’d better be descriptive of the beach here.
Unlike other coastal walks where I have jumped over bedrock, or large flat rocks, in this case, for the rest of the afternoon it was mostly head or cannonball-sized and shaped glacier wall moraine residue. On a slope.
Very rounded. Completely unstable.
No gravel although there were short sections of small round rocks.
No sure footing, with lots of concentration required. And most of the way it was steeply, or at least moderately sloping.
I guess others with lighter packs would fly through it all, but I’ve still 14 days’ food aboard, plus my tent, sleeping mat, etc. The full booty.
So yeah, I found it slow going, and was grateful for my walking pole to give me greater stability.
I cruised about 1 km an hour, maybe more, but plenty of time was spent on handy perches, either big logs, or a shelf somewhere.
I’m well ahead of my schedule, having taken fewer hours to get from Coppermine Creek to Barn Bay. No hurry at all.
I was aiming for Spoon River to rest up after all this hard work of the first six days of the expedition, but Sandrock Bluff slowed me down.
I spend a little time searching for the track over the 100 m high bluff, but the GPS on my phone was out by about 120 m.
Oh, it’s 10 m further on. The base of the track is actually well marked with a large DOC orange triangles, and fishing bouys.
After that you start your climb following a variety of faded 15 year old plastic tapes, and of course the old, very overgrown bulldozer track from 1973.
Yeah, 45 years of vegetation growth make it awkward to see, particularly on the south side of the bluff, but as long as you realise that large bulldozers tend to move in straight line, and understand that deer, and I guess other humans have created a passable foot trail through the waist deep ferns, you will probably negotiate the bluff well enough.
Good luck if you come off the trail though, with its thick undergrowth, and thorny bush lawyer to impede progress.
At Bluff Creek I’d almost had enough walking for the day, but Callery Creek was only 100 m away and has a small variety of excellent campsites. Well, comparative to anything else I’ve seen since Barn Bay.
I selected one near the creek, and watched as sandflies congregated in a hurry.
So, finally resting my shoulders.
Might be a sensible idea to rest on the seventh day. This looks like an acceptable place to hang around for a rest day.
Supposed to rain tomorrow on my long-distance weather forecast, so having a day sitting in my tent would be well timed.