A week of not seeing the sun. There is hope that situation will change today. Brighter, despite the finest misty drizzle. That low in the Tasman Sea is not moving and so moisture laden air is not going anywhere.

As it turned out I doubled the amount of sunlight received since I left Hanmer. The other portion was on Day 1.

Despite that I didn’t manage too much distance. I sat around early on, wondering if the drizzle would continue, and left with my raincoat on.

By the time I decided to cross the Hope River to look at Museum Hut, I had my Lawrence of Arabia headgear on, and my coat had been stashed in my pack.

There had been some rain in the region in recent times, and early on the Hope River was looking fearsome, but from a vantage point I could see there were a few braids that indicated I could at least have a go at getting across.

When it came to my crossing I searched out a wide section of river, and went through knee deep, with all my electronics and cameras well wrapped up in my pack. No worries, but that hadn’t seemed likely earlier on.

Museum Hut was built originally built in the 1940s, and lived in permanently by a part-time hunter from 1949 to 57. Certainly a solitary existence up there at that time. Splendid vantage point over the river. After he died it burned down, and was rebuilt in 1958. It’s been done up since, and I’d be happy to stay there.

I kept on that side of the river all the way up to St Jacobs Hut, where I had a late second lunch. I’m developing an appetite, but suspect I’m gonna run out of much In the Extras Department.

Two things have been noted.

There is a resurgence of undergrowth, with the fewer numbers of deer due to shooting from helicopters. They are still around but substantially depleted. Cross-country/off-track travel in the forest is getting much harder then the open forests of my youth. Even the main Te Araroa track from yesterday needs a good prune.

Secondly, the dense pasture grasses are getting hard to walk through once cattle are removed from the open river flats. Matagouri is making a comeback. There was once a track up here good enough to drive a two wheel drive ute up, but it has been washed out in a few places, and it looks as if DOC uses occasional quad bikes for visiting. Soon we will be back to using horses.

I used the afternoon to dry out my sleeping bag and wet clothes. Sunshine can be handy.

Had a shave, and generally cleaned myself up. A wall mirror helped there. Tried not to look too closely at my weatherbeaten face.

Intending for a quick look at Top Hope Hut, that is about two hours each way tomorrow morning, further up the Hope River, and then making it back around to Hope Kiwi Lodge for the night.

St Jacobs Hut is warm with decent windows, and gets quite a few visitors each year, mostly hunters and fisherpeople. This was a hut I stayed in as a recent uni graduate, when I worked for the Forest Service doing botanical surveys. I came back when vaguely walking Te Araroa on my way to Lake Man Bivvy, via Pussy Stream.

Hopefully I’ll have more zip tomorrow.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: St Jacobs Hut

siteed on the edge of the forest  | St Jacobs Hut, Lake Sumner Conservation Area
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