I must’ve dumped 10 kg out of my pack, battery chargers, various maps, foodstuffs, it all filled a cardboard box secured at the backpackers, well, left in a locked cupboard. A spare pair of clean underwear to come back to.

There were some minor additions for some variety in food but overall, at least initially, everything felt lighter. Boulder Lake to Cobb is a five or six day walk for most time-pressed enthusiasts but that would land me back in Takaka just before Christmas, causing a few logistical issues. Might as well just stay up in the hills for a few extra days, what’s the hurry, there’s plenty to see in these limestone areas.

I caught the standard Heaphy bus, except I was the solitary passenger so the driver deviated and took me over the Aorere River, that’s the third bridge in the location, the second was washed away in the 2010 floods. If the third one is washed away I’d be calling Noah.

That cut out plenty of time, hitching to Bainham, and about an hour of walking on gravel, I think I’ve done sufficient of that activity already this week coming down the hill from Wainui.

There was a farm road to plod up, after half an hour I made it to a DOC intentions book shelter with a sign stating: Boulder Lake Hut 7 – 8 hours.

Oh. It was now 11 am.

The plod continued, first through farmland, mostly through manuka regrowth. Highlight, actually highlight of the day, was having to jump a few exciting limestone crevasses, of various depths, some 10 m, the width just a jump across mostly.

When I hit a sign saying Water, I found a decent open area, maybe a helicopter landing pad and thought, yup, I’m taking my time. It would have been a big afternoon/evening to continue, but despite my day of relaxation yesterday I wasn’t feeling too frisky. The water, umm, I survived after boiling it, I did a waterless search down the hill for an elusive stream.

7 30 am, sun still shining, 18° C in my tent according to my thermometer.

Dinner eaten, blog notes done, looks like I may have an early night to prepare me for the 700 m climb still to come.

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