Christmas Day. I’m not going anywhere.

I kinda need a rest, and that’s what happened.

It’s a sunny, well-positioned hut, that was relocated and renovated in 2010. A decrepit older hut is slowly deteriorating out the back. It’s made from a manuka frame and hand shaped slabs.

First upload, I watched a goat with its few day old kid munching away outside the hut. I didn’t make much noise and they grazed happily until mum finally trotted away, kid following in mum’s shadow.

I guess Christmas is a time to reminisce, and I thought about a year ago when I made the decision to march on from a Upper Toaroha Hut on the West Coast and made it up to Crystal Bivvy. I was in for some further wet days ahead, and with plenty of food remaining after curtailing some rather extravagant ambitions due to the rain, I sat around in a few huts until coming out on New Year’s Day.

The year before I sat at Lonely Lake Hut and had a rest day. The previous year I had woken near Blaikies Hill on Stewart Island/Rakiura, and walked for a couple of hours to Twin Pool Crossing and set up camp for the rest of the day.

Now here I was at another lonely lake, not having seen anyone else since the morning of day 2.

No worries.

I had two presents with me. A vacuum packed ration pack from my housemate that I knew about and made full use of. Yum!!

And a small present from a special friend turned out to be fresh hazelnuts, super yum. I ate a few with my breakfast coffee, and then added a few to each of my pre-packed Ziploc bags of nuts to savour the flavour for the rest of this leg of my trip.

Also, despite having already come almost 85 km in the last five days, I rearranged my Ziploc bags of dehydrated food. Three bags became four, times three. Same with the rice and porridge. Suddenly I could stay out on my little adventure for three more days.

I’m still on track for the first section of this route to Hanmer despite my rest day, but I’m really going to have to crack out the kilometres once I get into the Clarence. It’s just a case of getting over there.

So, Christmas. The past and the future to contemplate as I lay on the warm bunk mattress.

It was supposed to be raining heavily in the evening, then clearing in the morning.

I looked outside: totally blue sky. That rain was late.

Okay, but better check the situation first thing in the morning. Going over Ferny Gair is up at 1517 m and fully exposed.

I prefer a decent day for that.

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