The weather forecast was poor, heavy rain later in the day and I gotta get out onto the highway, and into the car before it starts coming down.

That is why I was up shortly after 5 am and gone just after 6 am. I could have walked the half hour back up to the swingbridge, but there is a calf deep stream to cross not far from the hut, my boots and socks were already soaked from last night’s crossing.

Why not do a short cut directly over the Boyle River, and cut out an hour, or even more, to get to the highway asap? Indeed.

I raced down to the Boyle River and found it was possible, although the bottom of my shorts was rinsed. And instead of being on the official trail through the forest, I was speeding over pasture, following a cattle trail winding its way through the matagouri.

Before I knew it I was crossing the gorge on a swingbridge, then standing in the Boyle Village bus shelter changing into my clean clothes. Well, let’s be clear, it did take three hours.

Oh, my boots were still wet.

My choice of Boyle Village as a preferred hitchhiking site, as opposed to the Lewis Pass at the other end of the St James Walkway proved worthwhile. I had a feeling 2017 would be kinder to me than last year, and it worked out that way as the day progressed.

I quickly caught a ride to Murchison, the car was continuing on to Picton but that turnoff at Kawateri was not a good place to hitch, a blind corner. Instead I was drinking an enlivening coffee, and eating something I hadn’t carried for a week or two, at a cafe in Murch.

I had a short wander through to the edge of town, fashioning a NELSON sign on the way.

Not long to wait before a couple of Israelis, just out of the army, took me precisely there.

Yay! In fact they were looking for a supermarket in Nelson so I directed them to my local, picking up some dinner before wandering a familiar path home.

I was 100 m from home, striding up the hill when the deluge began. It continued for the next 24 hours.

That’s the fifth rainstorm since I started the summer’s tramping, five weeks ago.

I’m getting a bit sick of that wetness.

I’m thinking that I might have one more trip, Lewis Pass to Arthurs Pass, but I’m sure gonna wait until the sun comes out again, and the longterm weather forecast is more favourable.

← Day 14 | Magdalen Hut, St James Walkway