12 hours horizontal, nine sleeping, so I must’ve been tired.

The campsite was the tiniest I’d attempted, but being perched just above the rushing river made up for that.

After so much time in a tent over the last 14 years, it’s always a pleasure to slide into my sleeping bag and close the zip on the world. I have acquired a routine for tent living, and it helps me find everything I need. My days’ rations are in Ziploc bags stored in colour-coded waterproof bags. Oh, maybe not so well colour distinguished. Almost all were yellow with either “breakfast” or “dehy” written on them.

After the summer’s expeditions where I had three trips that were over a week long, 13 days, 14 days, and nine days, my pack felt manageable, having only stashed five nights’ food.

My tent and sleeping mat added some bulk and weight, but they were useful for emergencies, and capturing opportunities like last night. Worth the weight. And handy as a pillow if not used.

I spent a splendid hour or so getting through the forest towards the hut. Initially, it was scrabbling over fallen trees and around chunky boulders, but the track was always visible due to the doubling up on the markers. Pink triangles for the trapline, and white Permolat rectangles for the new markers.

Eventually, I was on to a wide river terrace, and it was just a joy to stroll, although the crown fern obscured the trail on the ground.

Lots of birds around.

Suddenly I could see the hut across the first clearing since the swamp before the unnamed saddle.

Time to dry everything out after a damp night, have some breakfast, and spend some time watching the river.

No great need to load up the woodshed as it was already well heaped. Just some kindling to crack out.

I read a book found in the hut while sitting in the sun in the afternoon. Just a splendid day.

An early night was planned with an early start to get over Kākāpo Saddle tomorrow. That will be a big day.

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