No great hurry in the morning, although I got up at 6 am to make coffee. Then slid back into my warm sleeping bag.

The hut? Not so warm.

The weather forecast had rain later in the day for Buller, and that proved to be true. My now almost week-old forecast had 14 mm for tomorrow, then nothing much, so I decided to head to Crow Hut, and have a couple of nights to relax after these four rather strenuous initial days.

Only 3.5 hours, so that meant I could spend time in the morning reading the Forest and Bird magazines once daylight finally arrived.

Before I knew it, the time was 12 noon, but I had slowly packed up after breakfast, so left not long after.

This is one of the delightful sections of the Karamea River valley. For some reason not many people come through, and the fishers tend to wander the riverbanks, despite the track through the mature red beech forest being sublime. Much of the time it is climbing up to the next river terrace, then progressing easily through the huge trees on a well-marked and somewhat level track.

Any time I stopped, robins would attend me, and find grubs once I scraped away some fallen beech leaves. Birds have been prolific ever since I dropped off the Tablelands, with kakariki heard in a number of places, and a flock of ten New Zealand pigeons flying past the hut in the morning. Whio/blue ducks were heard for the third time first thing in the morning.

Seems like predator control is working to some degree.

Those river terraces seemed to get closer together, and the climbs further and steeper as I made my way closer to the hut. Rain was seen on the river for the last hour, but the forest offered some protection.

A woodshed full of dry beech firewood, meant my gear would get well dried out after yesterday’s dip. With the smaller size of the hut and double glazing/insulation, the place warmed up. Despite that, I slid into my sleeping bag by 7 pm once again.

What else can you do when it’s pitch black at 6 pm?

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Crow Hut

Crow Hut, Kahurangi National Park 4
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