I just didn’t feel like moving today. I have been on the go nine days since my enforced rest day at Steyning Hut due to the rain.

No hurry to leave. No hurry at all.

I was contemplating going up to the Mackenzie Bivvy.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Eventually, 9 30 am, I was ready to leave.

Sunny day.

If it wasn’t for my food situation I’d stick around. Maybe.

I really enjoyed walking down to the forks. The most lovely bush I’ve been in for a while. All the moss on the ground in various shades of green, and hanging shakily in the trees.

Perhaps 15 people up to the hut last year.

Just before the forks I thought I’d give the well crafted hot pools a look.

Test the water temperature.

Perfect. Boots off, feet in.

That is great.

Eventually I stripped off and sat neck deep. Bit muddy on the bottom and slightly greasy feel to the sulphurous water.

I became used to it and ended up staying in for an hour while dealing with sandflies attacking my head and neck.

Started to become an albino prune so eventually jumped out. After that I had lunch at the junction, only 50 m away and felt completely drained.

No hope of getting up the trackless other branch to Mackenzie Bivvy now, even though it was just after 12 pm. Just as well the lower part of the stream was super easy.

Soon enough I was down at the Hurunui. The cattle I had encountered yesterday had moved a kilometre upstream. Two big black bulls were cracking heads and shoving each other around.

I kept a low profile and shuffled past.

The main river has swapped to the north side of the valley so had to get my feet wet again. No matter. They were wet from yesterday.

It’s a slog up the flat valley, but out in the middle of the valley I had a great view of everything, the hills around in both up and down the valley.

I was contemplating camping a little further on than the hut but two tall, blonde Norwegian gals were at the hut, and we got to talking.

For some reason I thought I’d stay.

In the end, it was fairly cosmopolitan with German, Pom, and USA guys arriving. For once some reasonable conversation, listening to their stories of the North Island, and general impressions of Te Araroa.

So different from the previous night, but despite the companionship I felt it would be hard to continue with a lot of company for any length of time.

We were all in sleeping bags at eight am.

Not the biggest of days for me, but that hot bath, my first for more than 20 years took a bit out of me.

Definitely camping tomorrow night.

And Townsend Hut the next night.

May the good weather continue.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Hurunui No 3 Hut

Hurunui no 3 Hut, Harper Pass route, North Canterbury
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