The rain continued for much of the morning. It would stop for five minutes, then start up again.

I woke and had a couple of cups of coffee in a lull before getting back horizontal inside. Actually when I say I woke, I have to confess there was not exactly a whole bunch of sleeping done during the night, at times I just lay there shivering. My sleeping bag was soaked, the feathers in tiny clumps. Not much in the way of warmth and, of course, the whole caboodle was soaked, myself included.

I had left my cup outside and in the morning it was full, that was the second time, there sure been a lot of rain. The West Coast was living up to its legendary status as a particularly damp corner of the world.

I worked out I was 1.6 km from the hut so I knew I could wait until lunchtime before setting off.

No worries.

As it turned out there was the gnarliest of the scrub to get through, the dracophyllum and the more than head height manuka could be mostly pushed through, there was some other species, kamahi, that was tougher and unyielding, and that low manuka is always scratchy.

At Juno Creek the sun came out and a bedraggled weka stared at me.

Lucky I hadn’t continued the previous day as once again there was nowhere to put a tent up. Too much undergrowth and steepness and no flat spot, at least not the 2 × 1.5 m I needed.

Eventually I burst out onto some heathland and there was a solitary cairn, lichen covered granite rocks, must be getting close now. Then there was an even scratchier section through some dense manuka, my legs well lacerated. At one point my solitary walking pole sunk into the bog up to the handle and when I pulled it out the baffle at the end come off. No point in digging for it.

Shortly thereafter I popped into the heathland and the last 500 m was as easy as.

A dry hut to myself, not many venture out here and it would be a surprise if there had been other visitors. There was plenty of dry firewood, finally I could start to dry out.

The hut was entirely strewn with my belongings, most things wet, except for the maps and technology, the clothes line inside well utilised. Might be a couple of days before I move on, I’d like to get most things dry. The sleeping bag may take a while in all its soaked clumpiness.

I hit the jackpot with my sleeping arrangements: someone had left a closed cell foam mat which would provide immediate body insulation and there was a strip of canvas from an original bunk bed as a shroud to drape over that.

With a dry pair of socks, my dry, well dryish, Polartec longs and soft-shell jacket and hoody I was set.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Ministry of Works Historic Hut

The hut is out in the tussock but there is plenty of dry firewood around. | Ministry of Works Historic Hut, Kahurangi National Park
← Day 21 | camping at unnamed creek near Juno Creek, Kahurangi National Park Day 23 | Ministry of Works Historic Hut, Kahurangi National Park, night 2 →