Did I say I’d been this way before? April 2004, which turns out to be nine years ago.

Trevor Carter Hut was then a year old, must have been just before DOC decided double glazing and heavy insulation was the way to go.

The vegetation is starting to close in.

I’ve heard there’s two new huts down the valley, Crow is definitely one of them but was uncertain the other, either Thor or Venus.

I had a recollection that one of the huts last time in the Karamea valley didn’t feel too good to me. It was two storied with a damp basement in poor repair and the upstairs, well, it left me somewhat spooked there in the cold on my lonesome. I’d once had that feeling at another hut, near Harpers Pass on the West Coast side called Kiwi Hut. Later I realised hunters had previously stationed there, probably some harvested animals hanging from the trees when they were in occupation, and maybe that’s what I picked up on at the two storey job.

Well, as it turned out Thor is one of the standard issue, SF70, six bunker, now the only original NZFS hut left in the valley, built in 1969, nicely sited on a clearing at, you guessed it, Thor Creek, which has a swing bridge and a great view across to the beech trees on the other side of the river you can see through the louvred windows. The hut has been tidied up, new fire surround, paint, and maybe insulation and cladding, new roof, just a few years ago but it has basically transported me back in time.

Thor Creek has a colony of fantails in residence, five or more were cheerily fluttering about and coming to pay respects when I collected the water. There’s a bucket to get water from the creek, no frills here.

I keep going over to the Karamea which has a remarkable green tinge, to check to see whether any big trout have turned up but while I saw one 50 m upstream it’s just not levitating quite immediately in front.

Raining when I woke this morning but as often is the case it cleared before I left until I arrived here, half the walk was as delightful as you could wish, flat, wide valley. Even crossing the Karamea River failed to fill my boots as I scampered across calf deep.

Halfway, about Moonstone Lake, caused by the 1929 earthquake where a massive rockslide dammed the valley but in time since then has almost filled with rubble coming down the river, the track starts having to negotiate a more rocky terrain and the pace slows, well, you need some challenge to your amble.

Humm, a 3.5 hour day ain’t my most energetic but someone has to stay here, it’s been five weeks since the previous occupant.

It’s a great spot.

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