What a difference a day makes.
Yesterday without a cloud. Blue skies.
Today, all cloud. Patches of grey, both lighter and darker.
Before I left the hut, drizzle waxed and waned, but generally increased in intensity until half an hour before Red Hut was the full dose.
For a second time, I arrived at Red Hut drenched, as everyone knows a raincoat is no impediment to getting soaked in the New Zealand outdoors. I didn’t see much along the way as my glasses fogged up, and my long peaked cap and hood to my coat acted as blinkers.
For while a dazzling rainbow made an appearance, but either I raced underneath it, or it faded away.
Two small scurrying figures were noted on the opposite bank, heading to Elcho Hut, and packs were not observed at such long distance. Maybe they were on a day trip from Monument Hut, although it was not really the day for sightseeing unless your imagination was stirred by mysterious peaks, mostly shrouded in cloud.
Following the four-wheel-drive track was certainly much easier, even if I had to fill in a few blanks where it had been washed away.
For once, I was able to stride out, with precipitation encouraging movement.
So, it was lunch at the appropriate time when I landed at the hut. It didn’t take long for me to get cold, so I changed to my dry clothes set, including underwear, and warmed up with a few cups of tomato soup, to go with my standard lunchtime fare.
I’d left before 8 am, that’s non-daylight saving time, and was pleased I avoided the afternoon rain for the most part. I contemplated continuing to Monument Hut, just an hour or so across the river, but suspected that would just encourage me to cut short my trip and head directly for the car tomorrow. I still had four full days of food aboard, and thought I’d at least try for the Huxley Forks Hut tomorrow, presuming the river doesn’t rise excessively.
It’s mostly been drizzle, so without some consistently solid rain I’m thinking I could get across the Hopkins River, just above where the Huxley River joins, where it divides into numerous braids. When I came the other way, the deepest braid wasn’t too far from Red Hut, so I could always return if needed. Then, once on the other side, there is a swing bridge over the Huxley River if I need that.
I could have spent the afternoon today heading up there without having to worry about the river, but, well, what’s the hurry? Even if I have an imposed rest day tomorrow. The thought of the river going up should discourage others from appearing here.
After all, who wants to be trapped on the wrong side of the potentially raging river?