The weather forecast was terrible. A weather bomb was going to be dumping all over the area. Wellington was to have 160 km/h wind gusts.

Not good.

Showers first up despite clear skies to the east, then around 11 am it totally cleared up. A preponderance of blue sky.

I should have noticed that to the west, the direction the weather was coming from, it was still murky. All that blue was east from where I’d come, and not the direction of the wind.

But man it was sure windy.

I decided to pack up, then was offered a ride a few kilometres down the Rainbow Road to the start of the St James Cycleway which was the route I would follow until I made it to the St James Walkway that would take me to the highway a couple of days’ walk away.

Excellent. Thanks John.

There was a short walk on the four-wheel-drive track, unfortunately with a locked gate, up to Maling Pass at 1320 m, then a steep drop to the Wairau River.

My plan had been to visit the new Caroline Creek Hut, currently being built, but the rain had started on the pass and with several Wairau River crossings required if I went upstream, about 10 km, I thought it was prudent to make for the Lake Guyon Hut. No river crossings required there, at least today.

The Waiau River looked clear and was still crossable, but with the midday start it was too late to strike out for either Christopher or Anne Hut, and cross the un-bridged rivers before they really come up.

With rain now pelting down, and the easy cycle track path, I made good time to the hut. Shortly afterwards I was joined in the four bunk hut by three SOBOs, who had come over Waiau Pass the day before, and coming from the Waiau River Forks campsite had no hope of getting the 30 km between Caroline Creek and Anne Hut.

They, and I for that matter, were stonking wet and the floor soon turned into a shallow pool.

Ha! Some more company, just as I had thought would be a high possibility.

The rain continued throughout the night, fording the Waiau looked out of the question.

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