So much for the fine summer weather.
It was gloomy when I woke, low cloud around the hills and pass. It cleared for a while, but by 3 pm it was drizzling.
Yup, a holiday on the West Coast.
But the weather isn’t the dominant issue on my mind. It’s this astonishing landscape.
It turned out to be a 300 m climb up to the bivvy, much up the creek, and that took another hour of effort. It sure wasn’t easy.
Once out of the creek, feet totally soaked, but then they were from yesterday’s continual creek crossing/bash, it was a relief to make it into the alpine zone, ie, snow grass and tussock. Just the haul with the pack.
The bivvy nestled into a small basin. One small window and 100 year old mattresses. The tent last night didn’t seem such a bad option.
But it was before lunch, a short walk to the pass and a magnificent view up the top Hokitika River Valley towards Mathias Pass.
Suddenly I started to feel remote.
Quite different from the view the other way where I was looking straight down the Whitcombe River and could easily pick out Rapid Creek and the general hut area, and that cableway location.
Clouds around the hills, and what was good to see, a stretch of walking on gravel adjacent to the surprisingly flat river valley.
I mostly arsed my way down from the pass, seem to have ripped my shorts anyway. Yeah, it was steep enough, and snow grass makes for a good slide.
Suddenly I was able to make decent progress on the flat area, stretching my legs for once, but in the way things happen it didn’t last too long. I was on the wrong side of the river, the map suggested the true left, but with my wet feet and the river easily wade-able, calf deep, I took the line of least resistance. Until I didn’t. Time to scramble through some big patches of Aciphylla, speargrass.
Overall I knew it wasn’t so far to the hut, but it had started to drizzle, then a little later, rain.
There was an impressive section of gorge but little point in spending time standing around in the rain to appreciate it.
The hut, to be expected, was empty. Wow, there should be a great view into the Mungo River, except, of course there was little to see except rain laden clouds.
My itinerary may need to be amended. Looks like Sir Robert ain’t gonna happen, or, probably, Mungo.
A couple of cups of soup warmed the spirits.