Work? All done, and payment received.

My new raincoat to replace one where at least the gaffer tape kept some moisture out was due to arrive on Thursday.

I was up early organising all my breakfasts, etc, into Ziploc daily ration bags. I had already dehydrated two weeks of dinners for such an excursion.

For some reason my head torch that I’d used on Monday was not working. I’d have to rummage to find my old one with the gunky headband, and held together with more gaffer tape. You can tell I rely on gaffer for a good proportion of any necessary running repairs.

Cutting and bagging my cheese. 1 kg is easily cut into 16 days.

Home is a mess.

One thing on my To Do List is to place an alert on my website that I will be away. A stated date, a Monday, but I’ve started counting the days on a Friday, the day I was going to be leaving, not Thursday the actual day, and I’ve mucked up the count. Too bad, I’ll get to St Arnaud and work out things from there. Either come home, or extend my travels.

Eventually I’m all packed up, but I can’t find my gaiters. Maybe I stashed them on the outside of my pack liner when I started hitching at Jackson Bay when I finished my last tramp. That means unpacking everything.

My lift get shifted from a 11 am pickup to 12 pm. I find my raincoat has arrived. Maybe I should take that.

In the end I get dropped off at the end of Brook Street and when I check it’s 1 pm. I still haven’t had lunch after my breakfast around 6 30 am.

There is a familiarity about the climb along the Waimarama Sanctuary fence that has caused a few citizens some consternation. Nelson has been building a 700 ha bird sanctuary over a period of years, fenced, with widespread community support. A tiny group of protesters have objected every step of the way because, well, no one is sure. I normally don’t categorise people holistically but this strange process has baffled me.

Who doesn’t want endangered birds to have a safe place to nest?

A few protesters are chem-trails, anti-fluoridation, anti-1080, (although 1080 is not used in this instance), end-of-civilisation types, some of who believe that any species should simply be allowed to become extinct, killed off by introduced rats and stoats, if that is God’s will.

As always, it’s not worth arguing. No one has the views changed through arguments. The poisoning within the sanctuary was finally carried out after a High Court challenge last Spring and the benefits should start to be apparent in the next few years, if the Wellington sanctuary example is any indication. Now there’s plenty of kākā to be seen in Wellington where once they were absent.

I plod up the hill on a slightly hazy day, knowing that I have to make tracks if I am to reach Rocks Hut before dark. This is very familiar territory, I must have walked up here 50 times over the years, the first time when I was 14, back when the original Rocks Hut had a dirt floor.

As it is I turn up just on the point when a headlamp would begin to be required in the root-bound forest. Three inhabitants are sitting around the table, but none are talking. Concentrating on screens despite some random bloke crashing in after dark. Seriously bizarre.

This time around I take some tablets to avoid the cramp I have often had at this hut. As it turns out having not drunk copiously from Coads Creek out on the Mineral Belt and carried water from town instead, I’m cramp-free.

By 8 30 pm everyone is in bed. Lights out.

Tomorrow is a relatively easy day just walking up the Pelorus River valley to Roebuck Hut. It’s the following day that I will be floundering around in the dark when I leave Roebuck. That will be a huge day, and with daylight limited now we are past the Equinox no mucking around will be allowed.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Rocks Hut

Rocks Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park interior
Day 2 | Roebuck Hut →