For once I’ve slept through the long night. I’ve been horizontal for 12 hours.

Might as well stay cosy for another hour and listen to the news and weather.

No snow fairyland when it dawns. Just a misty drizzle early in the day, interspaced with occasional snow flurries. In a break in the cloud I can see snow is settling in the forest about 100 m up the hill. The ground in some exposed places up there is distinctly white.

With a complete break in the gloom I can make out the top of Little Rintoul with its white dusting. Not so much coating, maybe 100 – 150 mm judging by how much rock could be seen.

I am bunkered in for the day, and rather than just totally freezing, it is fairly cold, decided to light the fire. Not much firewood that is not wet and/or rotten but scrounging around in the wood bin outside there’s enough to get it going, and that means I can keep it going quietly. That takes the severe chill of the air which is good when my boots are finally drying out, very slowly and carefully. My feet find some abandoned jandals to wear.

Around 11 am I went outside to saw up some more wood, and notice a significant drop in temperature. A flurry of snow and something stays on the ground, looks like hail.

It’s generally fairly miserable out there if someone turns up. They will sure appreciate the fire. I suspect it has to get a few degrees colder before it will settle in the trees, let alone the wet ground.

Then it does get considerably colder, and the snow comes down for about five hours.

Not a lot but the area around the hut ends up with about 70 mm. Enough to completely cover the ground.

The environment looks the definition of gorgeousness.

After lunch I thought I’d go out to take some photos, then collect some non-rotten wood. If wood lies on the ground for a few years it rots. Not so good for burning. If it’s kept off the ground, preferably only for a few months, it can dry out and be decent burning. Not so easy to distinguish when covered by snow in the forest, but here’s a clue: having leaves still attached helps.

At least the DOC supplied saws, there are two of them, are sharp enough, and I managed to get warm twice.

All in all a great rest day, writing a bit, reading the solitary recent Wilderness magazine, and being left with the thought there’s still plenty of the South Island to see, even before going to the north.

It’s totally cosy, and I have excessive soup to drink. A splendid afternoon.

Now all that is needed is for the weather to clear up by morning so I can hightail it towards Nelson.

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