The devastation of the last few day’s deluge quickly becomes apparent: trees slipped into the creek, flotsam at an absurdly high level wrapped around any obstacle, a rock, a tree or just washed up at the high tide mark. In places it’s been 5 or 6 metres up, no hope of getting out successfully then. But quick to rise, almost as quick to drop.

Browning Stream doesn’t match its appellation, rather a milky grey, if that’s a possible colour, tinted by the slips.

Early on there’s a choice of routes, a high version that climbs to skirt around the top of a slip or the more adventurous low route involving a creek crossing, the level is actually pretty low and what the hell, I decide on getting the feet wet, but the initial slip is the easy part, around the corner there’s a jumble of fallen trees and clayey bog to negotiate, it’s a little wild, plenty of woody detritus wrapped in the remaining vegetation and four river crossings to enthusiastically rinse my footwear.

I take the detour to the delightful Hacket Hut, I stayed here once, back in the day, the sun comes out, there’s plenty of blue sky out, looks like the real bad weather has moved on.

The new bridge near the hut has some additional decoration, a foot deep in various lengths of vegetation including two substantial logs, debarked from a decent churning in the flood and glowing orange in the sunlight.

Further down there’s a few tributaries where the track is washed out to a depth of about four metres and then a length along the riverbank where no evidence of track remains, the silt is slippery now my boots have been converted into tramping moccasins, maybe this is the next trend, who needs chunky soles to your footware.

I hit the road and note the vegetation adorning the fences way above the river, it’s been over the road a metre or two, the road surface floated off in places.

It’s clearly been a massive flow.

A car comes past and an hour later I wandering town looking for my new boots, this time with secure soles. I still want to do some walking even if this first trip of four has been truncated.

Fingers crossed.

← Day 3 | Browning Hut: a rest day after 1.5 days tramping?