Three couples mumbling/whispering to each other, plus one solo traveller in an eight bunk hut don’t make for happy times.

In the morning I was up early, 6 30 am, and sitting at the picnic table eating breakfast. An early start with a well packed pack for a change.

The sign said four to five hours to Top Wairoa, but it’s a hefty climb, and with lunch and a few phone calls took a while to get to the top of the ridge near Mt Ellis.

I was thinking about the difference from the last time I went over, you skirt around Mt Ellis but still get up to about 1400 m. That’s last year when I went over in the mid winter snow. It took ten hours, I learned from the hut book. I do remember getting to Hunters Hut an hour after dark.

There was no one in Top Wairoa Hut and I didn’t stick around, the sign said four hours to Mid Wairoa further downstream where I was going to spend the night.

The track has its moments, eight creek crossings, some gnarly rocky areas to traverse with a few decent drop-offs, but it seems in better nick than it was last time, or I might just have become used to peril.

Just before the hut, after 5 pm, I met a group of three who were intent on getting to Top Wairoa. I was thinking that some traipsing in the dark was probable. They were planning on a big day climbing Red Hill and dropping down to the the Red Hill Hut. That looks entirely feasible.

At the hut just the two occupants, just before 7 pm.

Yeah, for once it’s been a day of walking.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Mid Wairoa Hut

Mid Wairoa Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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