Frost on the inside of the tent in the morning.


Not long before the sun came up, and then my tent was drying out. Always good to set up a dry tent later in the day.

No hurry, I had a round of coffee while sitting in the sunshine, then another as a goat walked past my tent site.

Nice view into The Sounds with those rows of hills extending into the distance. Some clouds on the horizon, but nothing in my vicinity.

For once I managed to place my tent with the dip for my hips in exactly the right spot.

I feel like shouting “This is Glorious!!” but refrain.

Time for another coffee. I sat around drinking, then slowly packed up, leaving the tent still standing. Then I walked around to the hut, only about 400 m away to where it been recently relocated, to check it out once again.

Five people and the large dog last night. No one around. I could have had the last upper bunk, but overall I’m glad I camped.

The good weather continued during the day, although up on Mt Richmond a cool breeze sprang up so I donned my new raincoat.

I should mention it is a frighteningly bright yellow shade. It was hard to find something that couldn’t be mistaken for a deer in the forest, most are black or red this season, but I think I’ve over-achieved this time around, even more so than my previous United Nations peacekeeper blue version.

Plenty to see once I popped above the treeline once again, with no clouds around the top of the South Island. Abel Tasman and Kahurangi to the west, D’Urville Island and The Sounds to the north, Blenheim and the Wairau valley to the east, not forgetting the gnarly looking Mt Fishtail, and the Kaikouras to the south. I could make out Ferny Gair from my trip just before the New Year. And of course just about everything where I was going in the next week as far as the Red Hills. The only bit missing from the panorama was anything of the North Island. I could see the bright blue of Cook Strait, then it disappeared into some low level haze. But I had sufficient alternative view to keep me there for a while.

On the way up the actual Mt Richmond, I had to clamber around Johnson Peak to start, I spotted two distant figures following my tracks. They caught up because I thought I should take in the view to the east for a goodly time, before that vista finally disappeared. They raced past where I was perched, and up to the top. On the way down they passed me again, I was mobile by then, and I said they should have bought a tent.

“A tent? No, we have to go back to the car.”

The car was clearly important as they quickly disappeared from view. They were obviously intent on enjoying this experience in retrospect.

Boulder hopping my way down from the summit to the hut was not so much fun with a heavy pack. I met another couple who were headed to the summit for a night out. No tent. Humm, that would be cool, but they seemed much more happy than the previous pair.

Cheery people in the hut, but I was intent on another night in my tent.

I found a great flat, soft spot in the trees that should keep my tent dry overnight.

Not such a big day walking-wise, but I spent an additional four hours stationary on various hills with all that vista spread out. I might never be up here again with that weather, and promised myself I would certainly never again carrying that ridiculous weight.

Make the most of where you are in life, I say. Don’t race on to your next destination without noticing you are having one of the best days of your life.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Richmond Saddle Hut

That cliff up behind the hut is indeed Mt Richmond. | Richmond Saddle Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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