Back out on the trail after a solitary day off in Hanmer. I wanted a longer break, but accommodation was unavailable. Two nights in a bed, with sheets, would have to suffice.

Yes. Just a brush with civilisation after 18 days walking. I sure appreciated the hot shower, the dry bed, some conversation, a variety of food, including some green leafy stuff.

Many thanks to my host at Hanmer Backpackers who told stories of his solo tramping adventures, some more adventurous than my own. His tale of being rescued after deploying his emergency locator beacon was both nerve racking, thinking of him, and reassuring that they found him in an hour, although it took the Christchurch helicopter with its winch to lift him from his perilous cliff face successfully.

I strode up Conical Hill for the view over the Waiau Valley, explaining to bemused tourists that I couldn’t decide what to have the lunch, so I bought everything. Two weeks’ food when added to a tent and sleeping mat looks seriously deranged.

Then I continued on some short sections of mountain bike track to get onto the Clarence River Road. Almost immediately I had a ride to Jacks Pass. Then another couple dropped me off at St James Station, the start of the St James Cycleway.

Frankly I was feeling that load of another two weeks’ rations on my shoulders. Back in the saddle. From the start of the St James it was just 18 km to Scotties.

Later in the afternoon a guy in a four-wheel-drive driving randomly along the obscure bumpy track picked me up. Somehow he was from Romania, and we had a great rave together.

I’d planned on trying for a ride for the first 10 km over Jacks Pass. The last 5 km into Scotties was a major bonus with that pack weight.

I set up in the four bunk Hut, a bivvy really since there was no fire. Two American mountain bikers cruised through to also stay the night. Still plenty of socialisation happening in my life.

I came to the realisation that with about 20 mm of rain predicted in a couple of days, I had better finish crossing the Waiau River tomorrow, before the deluge each, otherwise I may have to be going up to Anne Hut once again when it became uncrossable.

So I might just do a pack-less trip to Jervois Hut for a visit in the morning, then attempt to get to Steyning Hut later in the day.

Another 20 km plus for the day, but I won’t need to heft my pack all the way up to Jervois and back.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Scotties Hut

Scotties is right by the river. | Scotties Hut, St James Cycleway
Day 2 | Steyning Hut →