Nothing like sitting around drinking coffee for the morning, chatting away with K.

She works in a Canadian National Park so we talked about bears and wolves. Bears aren’t much of an issue, except you don’t want to get between them and their cubs. Bear bells don’t work. Never turn your back or run.

Not quite useful information here in New Zealand but I enjoyed the conversation.

She left and after a while, me packing up in the meantime, drinking a few more cups of coffee during the course of the morning, a lost lonely soul turned up and we continued chatting until 12 noon.

He had spent the night at Thirds, a three sided shelter with no bunks and a concrete floor, he had slept, curiously, sitting up, which meant very little sleep at all.

I’ve been walking 10 minutes and ran into a couple coming up from Middy, then an hour or so later three women. I had a late lunch at the Roebuck Hut junction and five people with two exhausted dogs arrived so it was a day meeting people.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking up the Pelorus River valley, the track is high above the river and it is a massive sidle on a fairly steep slope most of the way.

Two thoughts: the Middy/Rocks track up from the Pelorus is getting a huge amount of use by people on Te Araroa, it’s a shock how many names are in the Rocks Hut, err, hut book. Almost 400 were on Te Araroa, 90% of the visits, most on their way south to Bluff, and I guess a fair number more don’t bother with noting their appearance if they are just passing through. But the track itself is holding up well despite the surge in usage since TA was diverted up that way following a heavy windfall on the previous route via Roebuck Hut.

Second, the undergrowth is making a comeback since the goaty days of my youth, lots of coprosma and 3 m high red beech, enough to make it hard travel on any cross country should you choose to avoid the track. In my youth it was very open due to the number of goats and deer around.

The Pelorus River was still up so the option of going up the river for a few kilometres then taking to a ridge to get to Richmond Saddle Hut via Grass Knob kinda was discarded. There’s always the old track up to Conical Knob and then up Mt Fell.

At Roebuck was a family, two kids aged nine and six over Totara Saddle from Hackett Hut with their little dog, a fair effort.

I whacked the tent up outside, I was carrying it, might as well use it.

After my more solitary tramps earlier in the summer through Kahurangi where I didn’t see many people, sometimes for days, it was strange to not have the hut to myself. I counted 17, umm, encounters for the day, plus the three dogs.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Roebuck Hut

Roebuck Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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