On my own last night after all. Not even mice or possums.

Thought I’d get prepared to leave early, or at least have the intention today.

It sort of worked out. Not being long after 8 am when I was splashing through the shallow Goulter River.

Then the climbing started, 250 m heart starter up a zigzag where you end up with a birds-eye view of Lower Goulter Hut, as long as the bird is an eagle or similar high flyer.

Then it’s a long trog up an endless ridge towards Bushy Top, 1257 m. Surprisingly my legs seemed good nick. I climbed up the route once before, on my winter jaunt a couple of years before, and once come down on my Te Araroa avoidance on my way to Mt Richmond.

Somehow my legs did their thing.

At the 680 m mark I stopped for a good break and was surprised by how many birds were around. It was overcast for a change and I seemed to have found the spot where they all congregated in the ridge top red beech trees. Tuis chased each other, bellbirds came for a look, a couple of fantails, tomtits, and a plethora of brown creepers.

Once again I continue climbing, of which there was more than 1100 m for the day. At the top of Bushy Top cell phone connectivity was regained and I managed to flatten my battery sending messages to friends and catching up on world events. Oh, and some emails.

The sun was out and I had a magnificent view up the Wairoa Valley. A glint in the upper reaches, Top Wairoa Hut, although the Rescue Orange colour was too distant to be made out.

Hours went by, I seem to enjoy Bushy Top.

It was around 5 pm when I finally hit Tarn Hut. Smoke was coming from the chimney.

Just one inhabitant, a young German guy, the first I have seen since the whizzing drivers on the Lake Chalice Road six days before.

Time for some socialisation once again.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Tarn Hut

Tarn Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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