Having decided not to venture into the Dobson River Valley after talking to the hunter a few days ago, this trip has become more leisurely, particularly when you consider many drive to Monument Hut, and I started today only four hours up the valley from there.

Just an autumnal haze, and otherwise cloudless. Tomorrow it will be more energetic, up to Erceg Hut for a day trip, and the next day probably to Huxley Forks.

I’m hoping the hunters will have retreated down the valley, gone home by then, and I can enjoy the huts on my lonesome. Carrying my tent was a backup plan for dealing with excess numbers in the huts, but I’m not convinced many others have arrived here for The Roar yet. That observation of 14 tents has turned out to be a fabrication to dissuade competition having come from the North Island.

I was up in the dark once again, but this time around it was 6 am, not 7 am due to the ending of daylight saving. Still, I sat around drinking coffee and watching the sunlight change the colours of the mountains. No distractions from others this morning, but I stuck around for quite a while. I’d been up in the night when my mousetrap went off, then again, and I disposed of two tiny bodies, but the third time it set off the tiny rodent managed to leave the premises.

When I eventually got going I met one group of hunters out driving, who seem to prefer the driving aspect to the killing of large herbivores. Then, lunch in the four bunk Cullers Hut that could do with some love.

It proved easy to cross the rivers, and I failed to get my feet wet during the day. I had read plenty of discussion in the hut books about problems with river crossings, but so far, so good.

Yet another couple of hunters camped just where the track gets a bit vague, and I stayed about two hours chatting away. They’d shot a stag last night, knocked it over from 80 m, and it was kicking on its back, but then it jumped up and ran away with no blood trail evident.

From there it was just an hour over the stones and then tussock to my home for the night, or actually two as it turned out.

The valley continues to look spectacular, and I have a choice of two glaciers to peruse tonight, although not from the introverted hut. One is the Richardson Glacier at the head of the valley, and I am getting closer.

So not a very energetic day, but I did slip on a slope, and managed to do my hip.

Here’s hoping a good night’s sleep will help that.

Can’t keep my eyes open, and checking the time I find it’s not even 8 pm.

Pitch black, of course, and wintertime has hit all of a sudden.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Dodger Hut

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