Wow! What a fantastic day, not a cloud sighted.

An early start, for once, Lake Alabaster Hut To Olivine Hut was marked as seven hours, I anticipated it taking longer.

I was guessing it would be two hours to the end of the lake. I kind of knew there would be considerable wetness involved, so didn’t hesitate to plunge in when it suited the occasion. There were a few fallen trees to clamber over, or, around through the bush but for the most part the further I made it up the lake it seemed it was easier just to plunge on through the water, knee deep, rocks beneath generally slippery, an approach saving a lot of frustration rather than crashing through dense shrubbery, up and down banks.

Once I broke through to the grasslands beyond I was spotted by the lonely local, Bruce zipping past in an inflatable, and resident in this vicinity for the last two years. I ended up talking for an hour, mostly about possums, the fur currently brings $105 a kilo, not so good, down from $130 dollars previously, which was great. The issue around here is that plucking wet fur from the recently dispatched possum is rather hard to dry out, so he only works 50% of the time. Many stories of crazy trampers coming through, big floods, the old staple 1080, dead keas, etc.

Somehow us old hands find plenty to chat about.

A chopper had come through earlier this morning and potted seven deer, leaving Bruce some venison when coming for a visit. I said that would make a change from the old possum feed, he replied that the possum’s hind quarters are quite delicious. It’s remarkable what we covered.

Then the route had me charging across some grassy areas, plenty of markers around since DOC re-marked the whole track in February this year, you get up into the mixed podocarp/beech forest, minor ups and downs somewhat reminiscent of Stewart Island, even cutting through a short section of Black Swamp that did require a major wash in the Olivine River when the track finished for the day. Actually there was plenty of daylight at the conclusion of the walking leg, lots of time to gather a wood supply, it’s perfectly dry so might as well stock up.

Bruce mentioned that it is too time wasting to use the bucket on a wire rope you use when the Olivine River is in flood mode. So far so good, with the sun long down there’s almost no clouds about, despite the prediction of rain this evening. I’m hoping that I get another 24 hours of fair weather, I am planning to do the big dash to Big Bay tomorrow, a huge 36 km, that includes a traverse of another lake, Lake Wilmot.

The pressure will be on.

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