That was my first night in my tent since Easter in the Richmond Range.

Unfortunately I didn’t have it alone. There was a preponderance of sandflies who elected to join me, without consultation first. I would have declined their company, having decided early in my tenting career that I preferred solitary company, at least when in my tiny one-person tent that is barely large enough to house myself.

That meant half an hour of elimination of my uninvited guests. After a lack of such company up at Mt Misery Hut at 1550 m they sure made up for it in the long grass.

When I came through here in 2003 this area was as neatly trimmed as a dairy paddock. I guess the disappearance of the grazing deer has changed that.

But man, sitting here drinking my morning coffee the biomass of sandflies is extraordinary. I’ve been forced to coat exposed parts of my body with the only sure fire way to keep them at bay: the toxic, if not carcinogenic “Bushman” insect repellent.

Some encouragement to pack up and hasten on my way, even if my body is suggesting otherwise.

As it turned out it was a less energetic day. I skipped through the D’Urville River and walked around to D’Urville hut down on the lake. I was surprised to see it had been given a makeover inside, lined with plywood, so I guess it has good insulation now. The bunks are a more convenient arrangement. And some of the surrounding trees been felled to allow light into what had previously been a gloomy hut.

Same old eels down at the jetty.

Then it was up to the Tiraumea Track turn off, 30 odd minutes up the valley on a weirdly overgrown track. Not sure why these national park tracks have been abandoned by DOC, considering the Tiraumea Track itself was just fine.

I was prepared for the short steep climb to the saddle and had a memory of the walk from the saddle to the hut being on an excellent track, and can report that is still the case.

Just a slow meander through the beech forest, crossing the creek a few times. Certainly attractive.

Just cruised the afternoon.

Not long after I arrived and picked a bed or two out for my gear, a solo hunter arrived, also to stay the night. He had seen my wet footprints on otherwise dry rocks.

Now he is away for an evening shoot, as hunters are supposed to do.

Might have a better sleep to prepare for tomorrow’s 800 m climb to Mole Saddle.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Tiraumea Hut

Tiraumea Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
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