Another cloudless start, although no frost was evident. Perfect tramping weather.

With only three hours down the river, and no big climbs along the way I had plenty of time to compose myself. No hurry at all. More cups of coffee after once again listening to those early morning bellbirds go through their songs. I know this is starting to become repetitive.

It’s taken a week to fully relax into this trip. Now I have not a care in the world.

I cracked out another couple of blog posts. Been busy on that front. I’m not overly concerned about spending time in a hut on a good day.

I just need to write when the feeling is with me. Sometimes I scarcely know where the ideas come from, but I’ve learnt to crank out the writing when the urge falls. At other times I know I have to go through plenty of somewhat mechanical revisions. Catching those initial thoughts is the crucial part. Polishing and clarification is easier.

I’ve been each way up and down the valley so today I noted that it was possible to follow the river flats down if the river was low. Sure was, so knowing I was only get my feet wet on an early morning crossing tomorrow I thought I might as well start early and follow the river rather than the marked trail that stays on the true left bank. That is, I followed the quad bike track much of the way.

The sun was out and the water must’ve been around 20° C. It felt quite warm.

Out of the bush, it’s manuka mostly, I could see the cliffs around Mt Patriarch, and as I got closer the long ridge up Bushy Top that I would be ascending tomorrow.

Halfway down I stop for lunch and discovered it was a Friday. That meant there may be hunters around at the hut since it was less than an hour’s walk in from the car park.

Lower Goulter Hut was empty although still early. Hunters can often appear an hour or two after dark.

This is where the twist in my travels happened.

I lay on the bed and contemplated my options. I could continue south from Bushy Top as planned, but I could also do something else.

If the weather was good going north was a decent option. I could head back north to Nelson. I wouldn’t be retracing my steps from the trip. I would need to climb Mt Rintoul and Starveall and then spend another night at Rocks Hut. I could cope with that.

I have walked the track to St Arnaud a few times, four actually. The thought of doing that grand circle from Mt Rintoul Hut to Starveall Hut on a good few days somehow mightily appealed. Why not? I was still carrying plenty of food.

I’ll try to catch the mountain weather forecast at 5 am tomorrow morning, but this morning’s, while mentioning it would be getting much colder didn’t have a super bad day in the next four. I’d be almost home by then.

A circuit of Mt Richmond Forest Park made sense.

I might just walk home.

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

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

coming down from Bushy Top you see the hut way below | Lower Goulter Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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