Man!! Day 7 already.

After yesterday’s food binge the tide level in my pack had better be going down sometime soon.

On the other hand there are no big climbs as I make my way down the Goulter River. They are being saved up for the climb up Bushy Top that will be a steep 1000 m.

I noted that it was five hours on the DOC sign to Mid Goulter. That almost sounds like a real tramping day.

But once again no hurry. Might as well drink some coffee and eat my steaming porridge sitting in my sleeping bag.

The stream trickling its way down the hill immediately outside the hut provided a serene aural backdrop to the morning.

A couple of posters inside the Hut offered a $10,000 reward for finding a kōkako, South Island variety. I’m always of the lookout for them, but none were heard. No birds in the area sadly, and this beech forest should be teaming with them due to the abundance of insect food available.

Attempts to lower the possum population have been made with cyanide over the years, but that didn’t stop the possum living under the hut making a racket at times. I don’t believe they have used 1080 extensively in the Richmond Range, which may explain the contrast with the number of species of birds found in Kahurangi National Park where blue ducks/whio, kākā, and kākāriki can be heard, and at times seen. This area is a bird desert, although a few fantails, bellbirds and tomtits can occasionally be heard.

With some cloud cover despite now being April it hasn’t been cold. I ventured out to the toilet in bare feet having neglected to bring alternative footwear to my boots. I left sometime after 9 am, but then it was only five hours down to the hut. That left a little time to walk down to the lake and I was to surprised to find that it was at least 3 m higher than when I was here almost three years ago back in my Te Araroa days.

Just like the last time I came through here I was hit by a major thoughtful time about what to do with my online life. I sat in the forest eating my lunch and writing some stuff furiously. I made the decision to get my personal website that has been in abeyance for a while cranked up again.

That meant I had reason to have a few slow days, I could crack out a good deal of writing.

It’s a beautiful stretch of forest as I sidled my way down the fairly steep sided Goulter River valley.

And yes, while it was five hours walking, I spent a considerable amount of time contemplating various bits of writing while stationary. I might just stick around one of my favourite huts tomorrow and crack out some more words.

Why so favourite, after all I’ve been to a good few in my travels? I must be getting up to having visited at least 400 over the years. Maybe it’s the renovated bunks and benches, or just having three windows orientated to the light. Something resonates with me.

It’s grotty this time around, the last people haven’t cleaned up, and there’s a big bag of rubbish on the floor. Some people need to bring a cleaner.

Dinner is served and there is some sleep to be had.

I slither into my sleeping bag just as it hits official darkness with my dinner, and plug in my earplugs to listen to the radio.

Tired? Yeah, five hours walking can do that.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Mid Goulter Hut

beaut renovated interior  | Mid Goulter Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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