Plenty of slowness in the morning. I kinda decided on a 10 am start, but I could always shuffle that to 10 30, or 11 am.

No hurry today.

And it was a perfect day.

The others were up and rummaging around in the dark, but that was only 6 30 am. I listened to the 7 am news and weather forecast. A single word for much of the South Island: fine.

I wanted to sort out my head torch, the second of which was now not working although it functioned okay last night.

Packed my pack more rigorously. Found out what exactly I had aboard.

For once I’m in no particular hurry. I prefer arriving at a hut around 5 pm and modulate my day accordingly.

As it turned out arrival time was later than that. It’s a good 20 km from Rocks Hut, and even if the first two hours is dropping down into the valley it seemed like quite a day on plugging away.

No one else out on the track.

My pack feels enormously heavy, which of course with my tent, sleeping mat and all that food it sure is.

There’s a fair amount of up and down in the valley, climbing over a few tributaries, but usually you walk along a vague track way above the actual river.

I’m trying to save energy for the big day tomorrow, and spend some time sitting down listening to the birds. Not many around. After a few robins at Rocks, it’s fantails the rest of the day, punctuated by a couple of native pigeons doing their big flappy thing.

I arrive at Roebuck Hut somewhat after 5 pm to find a large German shepherd/husky giving me a friendly greeting and a couple who were intent to climb to the Mt Fell Hut tomorrow. Seems they had read a blog about the route, and had been inspired. Eventually the connection was made.

I wrote my name in the hut book for the fifth time. The hut is less popular now the Te Araroa track has been relocated to the ridgetop.

A cosy night even without the woodburner going.

As usual with my early days on long tramps I had cramp, that on this occasion caused some night time roaming by said large dog as I staggered around groggily to grab a drink. Has to be the best behaved large dog I’ve ever come across though. Not a solitary bark. Perhaps a few too many licks.

Eventually, after a few moments of intense sensation in my lower limbs I dropped back to sleep.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Roebuck Hut

Roebuck Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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