Wow, a whole day cruising over the grassland. With few of those cattle trails to make life easy. Seems they are more common over in the drier, more fertile east side of Molesworth.

I did enjoy the walking, however, down the Severn River, three crossings done, probably only one required.

Minimal hill climbing although a insignificant bump at the end of the day was noticed.

One of those days when you just concentrate on walking in the surroundings, there was certainly little else in the way of distraction.

I spotted a new animal today, a native fish about 120 mm long, with a dorsal fin in a tiny streamlet.

Some red tussock to smash my way through, then it was down to a little creek to bask sheltered from the wind in the full sun for an hour. I’m getting used to that. Why not take in some summer when it is on offer, when the alternative is sitting in a hut?

Eventually I made it onto the four-wheel-drive track that was the final 4 km of this East West Route I’d been, mostly, on for the previous 11 days.

At Sedgemere there were a few fishermen in their four-wheel-drive’s. One turned out to be a fishing ranger checking licenses, all in order, except for me who obviously didn’t need one, there were moments of confusion as to who exactly I was with.

No car?

Nope. I’m walking.

Later I saw him looking around for where I’d hidden it.

One older fisherman was particularly opinionated about foreigners coming and using our huts and tracks. His solution was that there needed to be a $300 airport tax. Unlike many other countries we have no fee for entry into national parks, it’s a fundamental aspect of the legislation that set them up, they should be accessible and free to anyone who wishes to enjoy them. He felt foreigners who visit should somehow have to pay, they get away with it for nothing he repeated.

I mentioned that they do in fact pay hundreds of dollars in GST, which is used by the government to pay for hospitals, schools, social welfare, old-age pensions, defence, all services which foreigners would never use.

He became silent and surly, not at all convinced by me airing my own thoughts.

Then, I later noted that he and his fishing buddy had stayed at the DOC maintained hut without paying the $5 fee for either of their nights’ accommodation. They roared off in a huge four-wheel-drive, it’s not like they couldn’t afford it.

Fortunately there was a personable fisherman remaining for the night who was full of stories of his days as a deer culler, hydroelectric tunnel digger, insurance salesman, deer farmer, other assorted occupations, all of which proved extremely lucrative. But he had charm and goodwill and an ability to listen to some of my absurd, random stories plucked from my memory banks.

A pleasant evening with splendid company.

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