After my nighttime relocation I slept superbly, without ever getting into my sleeping bag as the hut was so warm.

A Russian couple departed early for an energetic walk across the tops to Sylvester Hut. Everyone else was lethargic, I finished breakfast around 10 am by which time the three foreign-born DOC workers were moving and we had a good chat about all things outdoorsy. I clearly wasn’t so keen on moving but eventually I took the loop track over to Lake Cobb, and stopped at Cobb Hut for lunch.

I ran into a guy keen to get to Lonely Lake for the evening even though by now it was after 1 pm. More discussion about the route but this bloke, who had spent last night at Chaffey Hut and just climbed Mount Gibbs, 1645 m, was probably going to be at Boulder Lake the next night. He was really keen on getting somewhere else in a hurry.

And here’s me mooching along on Day 10.

I met some more Dragons Teeth types near the Tent Camp, an interesting renovation of the once common, well, in the 1950s, accommodation for deer cullers, they were going to camp up at a time above Fenella. I ran through the obvious route and the hairy parts, we all agreed that whatever our earlier exploits we had a lower threshold for excitement these days. Still, we were out there experiencing at all. They weren’t interested in your average DOC hut with the tourists.

Fair enough, it would be another fine evening, the spell of good weather seemed endless.

Then I encountered more people heading up to Fenella for one night then back to their car and civilisation. Shortly thereafter another guy who was carrying a book and hut tickets for two nights. That sounded like a great plan.

Then it was heading down the valley. Around 5 pm the marvellous Chaffeys restored hut seemed like the obvious spot to stop. Maybe it was the 350 mm slope across the floor of the tiny hut, I kid you not, yes 350 mm drop in about 5 m.

No point in getting down to the road end hut, with doubtless plenty of tourist types and after the cramps and sinking sleeping mat last night my enthusiasm for the tent had waned. Not many stay at Chaffeys and I had the place to myself.

I’ll need that tent sorted in Takaka tomorrow night.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Chaffey Hut

The exterior walls are constructed from nearby fallen trees.  |  Chaffey Hut, Kahurangi National Park
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