Chaffeys is a great hut with character and even, mostly, clean, you don’t get that often.

I had plans for the day, heading to Takaka an important component, but what was the rush, still a bit to see.

I decided against confronting another bucket of porridge, why not an early start instead.

Well, almost. I enjoyed my two coffees in the hut, the sun on the mountains around.

Man, that was a good sleep fully stretched out, not having to be concerned with disturbing anything except the local wekas with my snoring.

But it was my earliest walking, and obviously lightest, I had 10 less dinners, etc, aboard.

Not far down the track I ran into two trail runners, shuffling their way up to Fenella. I suggested Mount Gibb as a challenge, I was sitting down, err, admiring the view at the time.

Then, before long I popped out of the forest to the Trilobite Hut car park with a dozen cars, and the hut.

A couple I had met up at Fenella, the Russians, came up to use the hut toilet, and despite having spoken at length with them on our night together, weren’t so friendly this time around. I fiddled with my pack, they evaporated and shortly thereafter could see a plume of dust as they made their way back to civilisation in their four wheel drive.

Umm, it’s about 30 km on a narrow winding, gravel road down to the main highway.

But I wanted to check out another couple of huts in the vicinity, a cute Myttons Hut, a four bunker 15 minutes up the hill, and then wandered down the road and over to the historic Asbestos Cottage. Almost.

It was hot wandering along the dusty road, not a cloud to be observed, the Cobb Reservoir at low tide alongside.

I did pop up to Myttons Hut but with an advancing puff of dust in the distance I changed plans and accepted a lift down to the highway. Shortly thereafter I was picked up and was soon strolling through the totally transformed town of Takaka. A mass of tourists in their paisley pyjama pants and crocheted tops, or sitting eating pizza and sipping coffee. It was a zoo.

It had been a big 11 days since I had departed and the hairy hordes had arrived.

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