I crashed out early last night, before nine. It was quiet, I had finished my writing and for some reason, later, I kinda sensed someone else was outside the hut. I had my earphones in, listening to the radio and external sound was blocked out.

It turned out there were two extras in the hut in the morning, they had arrived around 10 pm, having found the last section from Holyoake Clearing very tiring, and the track not so easy to follow in the dark.

R was up first, K very much slower. Bumblebees kept flying into the hut, R very carefully ejected them, well, one stung me on the wrist, caught under my shirt sleeve, and I found R had an affinity with the insect world, in his case he knew a lot about the 17 species of New Zealand butterflies, a narrow enough field of interest to have knowledge in depth. He bred them in his backyard using various stinging nettles as food for the eggs and caterpillars. Five more bumblebees inside, I couldn’t work out if they were the same ones, attracted by the bright colours on our packs.

We drank coffee and chatted until we all left together around 10 am. Initially I wasn’t so keen to walk with others, I prefer to be ambling along at my own pace, but as it turned out we were quite compatible and although R mumbled somewhat, sometimes hard to pick up, we were all patient and we traded info. I found that the butterflies only last about three weeks once they hatch. I offered some botanical knowledge, the various dracophyllum, I counted three species. Then there were the divaricating pseudopanax, and the mountain cedars.

We went and had lunch at the marvellous Porters Lookout, you could see bits of Farewell Spit not so far away, all the way around from the Marlborough Sounds to Robert Ridge in Nelson Lakes National Park, Nelson just over there across the bay. We were up at just over 1000 m, the highest point of my Abel Tasman walk.

I peeled off around 3 pm, off to Canaan Saddle and the beautiful Wainui Valley, the guys off to our Awapoto Hut along the ridge top.

Just near the hut I spotted a couple of kaka, I had seen one earlier at Castle Rock and then another.

Seems I have the hut to myself but I thought that the last couple of nights. My limbs are once again very tired from carrying that big load, there will be another early night, before it’s dark.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Wainui Hut

The Wainui Hut has a nearby aviary to acclimatise bird releases. | Wainui Hut, Abel Tasman National Park
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