“You two aren’t just a little bit gay? Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” I say to the two hunters embarking on a double sized portion of bacon and eggs using pink plastic utensils.

Steve quickly changes to a spork, allowing for some additional quips.

They, like the previous set of rifle bearers encountered at Hidden Falls Hut, are bereft of any meat from their efforts.

More from me, If I was less tactful I’d say that not many shooters pot deer directly from their sleeping bags.

Indeed, I was the first up, I crashed out before eight despite the ever flowing stories, some of them with an inkling of truth, but Steve had a fresh one for his repertoire. James had assembled his gas burner incorrectly, the new canister had leaked gas, turned into a flamethrower, a bomb, but he had bravely, if not foolishly, managed to pop it outside before it finally exploded, I guess one reason the deer had vacated the territory.

I directed them to the topic of Stupid Things They Had Seen Trampers Do. Seems that could provide an endless supply of tales to your average hunter. And more interesting than the 1099 Reasons Why DOC Is Wrong About 1080.

Steve had seen a couple of foreign types embarking on the Rees–Dart Track, three nights away in some fairly rugged country, with jandals as solitary footwear and carrying their full requirements in a number of plastic supermarket shopping bags in each hand. That certainly trumped anything I’ve seen, the zaniest being a bloke with bare feet coming down in the rain from Angelus in Nelson Lakes after the late April Anzac long weekend last year. At least he’d had a pack.

I did mention the story told by my French friends earlier in the week when they also walked the Rees–Dart, having been told of the avalanche danger they could recognise a potential problem and were just about to turn back when they spotted four other walkers, way ahead. Thinking they must know what they were doing they quickly caught up and found two Taiwanese couples, City folk, ill equipped, skimpily if not inappropriately dressed, who had been in the country less than 36 hours.

I’ve been on the trail for 14 days and this is the last day, just a quick dash to the end of the track, it’s fully benched here, not dissimilar to the better parts of the Kepler, and then there’s just the issue of the 17 km of dirt road back to the main Milford Highway and the 88 km to Te Anau.

It’s not yet raining. No sweat.

← Day 13 | Back to Hidden Falls Hut, Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park