Not a cloud in the sky: major shock.

No wonder it was so cold.

For all the stories of Poet Hut being rat infested, it currently had to be one of the cleanest huts around. Newly painted, with a white interior.

Last summer a gold prospector worked the river above the hut using an inflatable dinghy with pontoons, dredging for gold, and he seems to have left all his cleaning gear behind: blocks of soap, dishwashing liquid, hand sanitisers, fly spray, sandfly repellent, sunscreen, tea towels, sponge, scourer, and, not least, some spray surface cleaner.

Did I miss anything?

A gas powered hot water unit, but no bottle of gas. He’s left this all behind. Perhaps he’s coming back this summer for another month.

Oh, there were two rat traps, plus, down near the river a stoat/rat trap, the type which can kill 10 pests due to CO2 recharging. No dead stoats or rats noted.

He had even washed the mouldy mattresses. I have to say that Poet could be damp in winter, not getting any direct light, or visitors, for months.

The track started well, cut through the bush and ended up with the usual rock hopping on some very mossy boulders.

I’d seen the route from Bluff Hut and was fearing a repeat of the drop from Bluff to the swingbridge, in reverse, uphill direction but while steep in places it had none of the more demanding issues of yesterday.

It just went on a bit. With considerable use of hands to drag myself up.

Near the top I met a kererū, a kea or two, and at close quarters, a lone deer.

The sun was out on the saddle and I sat around a while eating lunch, enjoying the view back to Bluff Hut, clearly visible, up Sir Robert Creek, up Mungo River almost to Mungo Hut, and all the surrounding mountains.

The fun started on the descent. First tussock, very dense, where it was not possible to see my feet on the extremely uneven terrain. Later I found the track directed down a creek, quite steeply, enough to require a chain, and when that finished the route went straight down, more or less, a rocky waterfall.

Man, this is starting to get to be overly demanding.

Then, as things both good and bad eventually do, it concluded and I made it over a section of soggy grassland to the six bunk ex-New Zealand Forest Service hut for my eighth night on my own.

Just under 800 m climbing for the day, and I guess almost the same coming down, maybe only 600 m.

And now, lying in my sleeping bag in a dry hut, it’s back to thick cloud down to hut level.

Quite the change from the start of the day.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Top Toaroha Hut

The exterior has been recently tidied up and repainted. | Top Toaroha Hut, Toaroha River, West Coast
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