Day 8 of this Little Adventure and there was a reason I didn’t spring out of bed.

I noted it was 3° C.

Not a cloud for a few hours and still. Just so peaceful other than the flit of a few tuis across the valleys. It’s flowering time for the flax and the tuis seem to know where to find the nectar.

It felt sad to leave that great hut, might be months before someone else pops in, but after three nights I had come to know the area. Now just the walkout to that Heaphy highway.

It was not quite as easy as I might have hoped. The tussock hid some big holes, the ground was fairly uneven and not paying attention I fell on my face.


Now it did have my full attention.

Most of the walking was in the open, down alongside a small creek, up and over a ridge into the next creek. There is standard 800 m elevation stunted mountain beech and manuka forest where it’s drier just up the hill.

I was following the map, due to the numerous octopus–style valleys it’s quite confusing, no track marked on the map of course, and only a few cairns to follow.

I got to one point and saw cairns over in the distance and charged, stumbled off, followed a few, didn’t see any more and started following the map and eventually found I had come off the usual Blue Shirt Creek route used by most getting to the hut and instead was standing at the head of Monument Creek, an officially described route, more direct than my initial proposal.

I guess my body was instinctively trying to minimise the distance travelled, now just 1 km or so to the Heaphy and a last short but intense bush bash. A few more divots added to my bark and I was out.

It was all over.

I think my cross-country days have done their dash in such demanding country.

All that now was needed was getting to Karamea, pronto.

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