Well, not quite Point 744, it turned out that the clearing was a significant sphagnum bog but I found a campsite in the beech trees right next to the river.
It was quite a day, even if the walking was less than three hours. Calm first thing, beautiful reflections on the lake and then I was away up to the top of the saddle.
That’s something, the north side of the Dragons Teeth looked somewhat sheer, glad I wasn’t on the High Route today, and Anatoki even more menacing behind.
I took what I later realised must have been the stream route. From the saddle there was an abrupt drop and it’s never easy to work out how to get down those types of bluffs from above, not even easy from below. But there were some cairns at the start of the Upper Route and a short way down the Lower Route branched off, plenty more cairns, well, enough. It was steep but it was through an open forest, enough to hold onto, until I reached a small clearing around 1185 m.
For some reason, after looking at that imposing face of the Dragons Teeth immediately in front, I peeled off and did some cross-country until I reached the creek that became the Anatoki River when I crossed back over to it. Then it was wandering on an unmarked track, a few more moss covered cairns, little foot traffic, through a jumble of massive slices of Dragon Teeth, house-sized dental decay, that had dropped off a few thousand years ago, big trees around. Somehow I stuck to the vague trail and found a place to whack the tent up to gather strength for my 700 m climb tomorrow up to Drunken Sailor.
There’s plenty of bird life around, robins joining me, most interesting a few kakariki, maybe 10 or so, were flitting about immediately overhead at the campsite, chattering away in parrot language high in the canopy. Yellow-fronted parakeets from the photos.
I’m in my tent, full tum, life is great.