My intention was to have an easy day down to the the Lower Goulter Hut, but then I realised it was Day 8, and may be time to have a complete day off. It’s about the halfway point on my way to St Arnaud and I still have plenty of food. I’m in no hurry, and this is a lovely setting.

I’m staying a second night.

I’ll have a chance to have my tent and sleeping bag in some sunlight to drive out the last of the dampness.

I made a round of coffee while listening to various bellbirds sing out the dawn. When by myself at this time of year, ie, 11 hours darkness it’s early to bed. By 4 am of already been horizontal for eight hours. It’s recuperation time.

Somehow after all the effort of the last week I found myself on a huge creative burst. I recognised I needed to launch my ebook, Heading West as a paperback. I cracked out a bunch of blog posts.

I drank more coffee and had a late lunch, avoiding muesli bars for once. Some wood gathering, not that it is cold enough to light the fire.

More water from the long trek to the river.

Better mention that early on a stag was making a lot of noise, not too distant from the hut. Not quite roaring, more of bellow, and after lunch just a groan. The stag wasn’t travelling far.

So. Plenty of writing done. Some eating.

The sun went behind a ridge at 4 pm and suddenly it was autumn, despite the mostly blue sky. I’m feeling like it could get a lot colder in a hurry.

Still no other residents for the hut. I haven’t spoken to anyone for three days now. Not that it bothers me, my record is 16 days from recollection, down on Stewart Island/Rakiura in winter. There will probably be other people once I am over on Te Araroa in a couple of days.

In the meantime I’m happy as.

I really needed today off. Plenty done despite the lack of motion.

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