Ice on the tent. Condensation and rain had frozen. New snow on the hills.

Did I care? I had a river to wade.

I packed up super quick. Easy when there are few consumables remaining, although the tent was soaked where it wasn’t frozen. After the previous day I didn’t hang around waiting for the others to get ready, they could sort out their own crossing methods.

I was through the Henry River by 6 30 am which didn’t at the time seem cold, but despite wearing my hoodie under my softshell jacket, and with a thick beanie on I sure felt cool afterwards. After half an hour’s walking I came across a sign saying it was 5 km to Anne Hut.

The sky was mostly blue, hooray, and that snow was around, down to about 1200 m or so. Maybe lower.

I marched on steadily for breakfast at Anne Hut. No one there. Yes, it’s the finest hut on the South Island leg of Te Araroa, and the sun was beaming in. I stripped off clothing for the next stage, over to Boyle Flats Hut, which took a fair amount of the day.

Plenty of evidence of flooding, with logs up high, some grass eroded into the rivers, and some detritus piled on the low bridge crossing the Anne River.

Don’t know, what can I say? I marched on.

Too many sandflies at Rokeby Hut. Boyle Flat Hut had insect screens for the windows, and Pia, a German woman in residence. We had a good chat for an hour and a half. I was tempted to stay but the call for home was strong and the weather report not so good, so went back over the swingbridge and started up the hill.

My companions from the previous two nights were just arriving at the hut as I looked back before entering the forest.

Then I ran into a New Zealand father/son combo.

Half an hour later a NOBO stopped for a good chat, mostly about the recent bad weather. Everyone seemed cheery, there’s something about the pleasure of long-term walking. That would make it seven in the 20 bunk hut which is pretty cozy.

I’m currently the solitary occupant at my own hut, although there was a large horse that thundered around in the paddock, occasionally rubbing its back against the hut, which made me think once again of earthquakes.

My tent, sleeping mat, etc are all hanging up attempting to drive. I hope no one else comes because I have commandeered the hut for laundry purposes.

Just need a bit of a shave perhaps, it’s civilisation tomorrow.

I find it’s been quite a day, 27 km, plus wading the Henry River and climbing the 1100 m Anne Saddle.

It’s an early night for an early start.

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