A warm night and no clouds in the morning so with the elevation there was plenty of view.

Actually I get up for the sunrise, intent on an early start, there is an orange glow over the Red Hills away in the distance, low cloud in the Motueka River near Tapawera.

In the end I don’t leave so early, and follow the suggestion in the hut book to do a sidle through the tussock rather than getting immediately up on the ridge.

After an hour I get bluffed, decide on climbing, not able to see exactly where to descend to do more of the tussock bashing. I’m climbing up a narrow gutter, steep, the way to deal with it is not to think of the downwards direction, then after five minutes of heart palpitations I’m cutting back on an easier route, up an avalanche slope, ie, short vegetation only, easy walking, and I’m finally on the ridge.

The hut is just down there, I could almost spit on it.

You follow the ridge almost to Mt Patriarch, 1701 m, at least to a saddle where you start the final climb, a fair amount of up and down, and it turns out that there is 650 m climbing for the day, which means there’s 850 m descent.

The gnarliest part is descending from Point 1463 early on, steep enough to reverse the body and use hands and feet holds and occupy my mind with thinking about other things rather than consequences.

After the slow stuttering start I managed to stretch a four-hour walk into the majority of the day. No point in getting to a hut before 6 pm. Or 7 pm.

I spent two hours in one spot contemplating, umm, just contemplating.

I haven’t had huge numbers of days with magnificent views coinciding with great weather so I made the most of it.

Rain, 12 mm, has been forecast for Friday, so there’s no hurry. I don’t want to be up exposed on the tops until it’s all passed over, as I head from Stone Hut to Hurricane Hut over the Matiri Ridge.

One thing, 1 litre of water for the day proved insufficient, well, I survived, but I was pleased to discover some running water not far from the hut.

For the second night there’s no one else around.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Kiwi Saddle Hut

The hut is right at the saddle. | Kiwi Saddle Hut, Kahurangi National Park
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