“I’m not one to complain,” is a memorable saying of a friend of mine.

“Oh, yes you are,” might be the accurate response.

But it was one of those mornings. The bus was sorted, and I made it on time. It’s handy to have a ride all the way to the Mt Robert car park for an extra $10. That’s downtown Nelson to the car park: $55. I have walked that uphill dirt road more than once, and no longer suffer from character deficiency.

My complaints.

I grabbed my gaiters and for some reason ended up with two left ones, so one buckle is on the inside of my leg which is not always convenient when walking.

My plastic chest buckle broke, and that caused significant issues with my shoulder straps.

These things tend to occur in threes so inevitably something else would have to happen.

Yup, it started drizzling, then full-on rain.

No worries. I already had my raincoat on.

This is my first trip in recent times to a populated tramping location so near Christmas, so no surprise there were plenty of other people about. I counted 20 trampers heading out of the park, ie, the opposite direction, half in a giant peloton. Nine others on the shuttle bus were heading in with me, most going up to Angelus Hut, but I noticed plenty of foreigners with packs milling about in both the Kerr Bay and Mt Robert car parks. (Yeah, their gear was distinctly upmarket, and foreign brands. Kiwis often wait until after Christmas, a week or so away, to start their trips.)

This would only be the case for the first two nights. After that, once past Sabine Hut, I would be on my lonesome, I guess. Few venture into the Matakitaki valley, other than boys from Nelson College who have a lodge there, but it’s summer holidays, and they tend to prefer winter trips due to the timing of their exams.

The track was surprisingly poor in places. A significant slip had wiped out the track in one spot, and the route over all that was remarkably steep and greasy with few foot and hand holds for purchase.

Oh, I’m not overly complaining, that someone else’s department, just I had that overfull pack with two weeks’ food, plus my tent and sleeping mat.

Who chose this summer vacation?

Plenty already in the hut, many of whom had been planning on Angelus Hut but realising that it was more strenuous, and perhaps inadvisable to proceed further on such a damp, gloomy day.

Someone arrived from Blue Lake and announced it was 33 km, wondering loudly if they should continue another 7 km to the car park. Nope, they set off at 5 am the following morning.

I took up residence on the veranda with the sandflies, and once they went to bed, on sunset, a possum took their place in the harassment stakes, albeit concentrating on some loose plastic bags, not my skin.

They say the sandflies stop concerning you after the first 10,000 bites, and being a local I tend to concur. In any case they tend to prefer delicate tourist flesh, or at least more tender skin than mine.

A few things to work out: this chest strap, and cutting my toenails.

These are the worries that occupy my mind.

Other than that, life seems pretty okay.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Speargrass Hut

Speargrass hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
Day 2 | Sabine Hut, Lake Rotoroa →