There was plenty to do to get away this morning.

I had spent much of yesterday assembling and painting a large storage unit that for some reason I felt needed to be completed prior to my departure. Much of my gear was in a big pile, the food ready to go, everything scattered across the floor.

I needed a haircut and a shave, etc. Yesterday was busy.

This morning was cleaning out the refrigerator, paying a few bills, disposing of the rubbish, etc.

Eventually, half an hour late, I’m ready for my second spell in the hills this summer. I’ve organised a ride to the eastern start of the Wangapeka Track, T generously offers his time and a vehicle, it’s awkward to access otherwise.

For some reason rather than just plodding up the Wangapeka River to the saddle where I will be peeling off and heading directly south, I have decided to check out the views, and my muscles, and carry my pack complete with 11 day’s food straight up to the bush line, 1200 m climbing required. Then I can have tomorrow morning romping over the tops, and an afternoon going back down to the main river.

That sounds like a plan.

Just out of the car I have to ford the Wangapeka River, and as the rocks look brown and slippery and wide, 25 m or so, I take off my socks and remove the boot inner soles and wade through.

The track, well after the first hour or so which is steep, turns out to be quite beautiful rich top travel.

I have been imbibing plenty of water, but only carrying a litre, it’s a warm day, 25° C will be one of Nelson’s better summer days, and it’s time to start the sweating. I am in no hurry, no point in exhausted myself on this first day, and I’m mindful of that enormous lump attached to my shoulders.

Eventually I break out of the forest and have big views, initially, to the mountains north along the Arthur range, then the big rock faces of Mount Owen.

In the end I stagger, exhausted, into the hut after 7 pm.

Man, I’m really up in the clouds here, 1240 m, except, of course, there are few clouds.

The birds are singing noisily in the forest, it has been a strenuous but gorgeous day. Now it is a fabulous sunset with the colours changing over Mount Owen.

Doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of tramping.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: John Reid Hut

Mt Owen as the sun goes down. | John Reid Hut, Kahurangi National Park
Day 2 | Kiwi Saddle Hut, Kahurangi National Park →