Plenty windy in the night. The weather forecast is for more wind, a drop in the temperature.

Snow to 900 m.

Maybe it’s time to crank out some kilometres and at least get over the very exposed Mt Rintoul. The other guy wanted to get across to Slaty Hut and therefore left at 6 am. He was up very quietly at 4 30 am while I listened to the 5 am mountain weather forecast my tiny radio.

I left after 7 am. (I seem to think these times are important for some reason.)

It was noticeably colder than yesterday, but I didn’t have to ford a river. Then again, my boots and socks were still wet. The forest is strangely lacking in undergrowth as I climbed to the ridge that sharpened as I made progress. I heard a parakeet that slowed progress for a while.

Without carrying any water my pack was all of a sudden considerably lighter. As it should at the start of Day 11.

Despite the cold wind the clouds were high and good progress could be made. Well, except where I would peel off to gaze at the view along the ridge, or up the Wairoa River to the Red Hills. Top Wairoa Hut was now tucked around the corner.

Eventually as I climbed towards Bishop Cap the view back across Mt Patriarch to the Kaikouras came into sharp view. When I looked over to the civilisation evident on the Waimea Plain it was all so close. Maybe some Internet reception so I could get the weather forecast. Plugged in Rintoul Hut into the website and it indicated it was currently 5° C, but apparently felt like 3° C.

I could believe that.

Tomorrow would be cold but would start raining in the evening. And the next day rain all day before clearing up pretty well for the rest of the week.

I thought of crossing Hacket and Browning Streams. Might be better not to race ahead.

The hut where I’d most like to wait out any rain/snow would be Old Man Hut, an old favourite. Maybe I should just get to Rintoul Hut for tonight, and head over the hill tomorrow.

That sounded like a plan.

I prefer to get to Nelson on Friday, five days away. Again no hurry.

At that point I slowed down, taking more photos of the surroundings. There were some great club moss forests, lichen on trees, etc.

Maybe there would be some more companionship tonight, maybe not. It was now getting late in the tramping season, starting to get fewer hikers.

Rintoul Hut was a mess, but quickly tidied. (These more difficult to get to huts never used to have this problem.)

The weak sun became slightly stronger.

Maybe I should get some firewood for the evening, not that I’m a firelighter much these days. The last few nights I’d been in my sleeping bag not long after dark, and I’m not going to reveal what time that was.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Mt Rintoul Hut

Rintoul Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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