Man. My luck with the weather continues.

Not a cloud first thing and it remain that way, mostly, for the rest of the day. Great conditions for the oscillation above the tops above the Hollyford Valley.

For once I was not the first up, some tall blokes were racing out to The Divide and I was up just after the 6am news and forecast.

And, almost the last to leave.

There’s a short toddle up a hill, all on the zigzag, until you burst out with the massive view above the Hollyford, eventually Lake McKerrow comes into view, and later all the way down to Martins Bay, with some imagination you can make out breakers. I sat for almost an hour just soaking it all in, what’s the rush?

It’s great entertainment to watch big avalanches fall down the cliffs of the Darren Mountains just opposite, it’s a perfect view from here, the sound, like a crack of thunder and then a low rumble taking a few seconds to make its way over here.

There is plenty of undulation until you get to the climb to the saddle, in and out a various watercourse gullies. At the Harris Shelter it seemed sensible to climb Comical Hill. I asked four young people who said no ice, no worries, but the actuality was somewhat different, plenty of snow, mostly mushy snow on a slope. More slope than entirely comfortable, but on the way up, I must have been travelling well, I caught up to Mary from Luxmore Hut, a familiar face and we charged up together.

A big view of Martins Bay of particular interest for me although there are also views, well, everywhere, Lake Harris and a lot of the Hollyford Valley and the Darren Mountains beyond.

Getting down wasn’t as bad as anticipated, but a pair of gloves would have been useful.

From the shelter it’s a bit of a rock hop to the hut, that’s at the Routeburn Falls.

I decided that because of vast numbers at the Falls Hut last night, 36 out of 48 bunks, I’d head down to the smaller, more intimate, Flats Hut, another hour or so on down the hill. As it turned out 14 DOC hut wardens in training were settled in there, and another three trampers, man, quite the hut occupancy considering only 20 bunks are available.

Humm. The track had turned into a major highway, an easy mountain bike downhill so, why not trudge back up the hill, I’d taken my pack down, the Falls Hut had a much lower occupancy rate it seemed. So it eventuated, but I had wanted to go down to check the hut and campsite out in my investigative way. Probably could have left the pack behind. Back up the hill, somewhat slower than my descent.

So, a decent day, fabulous views, ditto weather, although a few clouds moved in for the evening, just about your perfect tramping day.

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