I woke before 5 am, and was able to hear the mountain weather forecast on Radio National. Rain for the morning, clearing in the afternoon. Showers forecast for the following three days.

Misty outside at that time, and the creek was noisy so didn’t take much to decide to stay another night. That might allow time for the rivers to settle.

Much deliberation about my two big options.

Option 1: Proceed as originally planned to Nardoo and Burn Creek. That would require plenty of crossings of Nardoo Stream, and the Matakitaki River up beyond Downie Hut. Plus getting above 2000 m.

Option 2: Straight to Downie Hut, and probably over Three Tarn Pass. Rather than hill climbing, at least initially, that would give straight walking days rather than bush bashing.

I’m thinking the obvious choice will become apparent tomorrow as I make my way down to the Matakitaki.

As the day unfolded the options became clear. It was heavy rain, even just for a few minutes. I’m less enthusiastic in crossing rivers like Matakitaki in such conditions. It’s three big days to get around that little Option 1 circuit, climbing to 2000 m with a full day up above the bushline.

In my younger days it would be No Worries.

Now I’m more circumspect, despite the long days.

Actually, today is the year’s longest day.

It’s not the brightest day, however.

I guess I could have struck out for Downie Hut, but it’s a big 25 km, and deserves an early start.

Instead I finish reading a book on my small screen iPod, and hope tomorrow is in fact brighter.

In the meantime I’m enjoying being stationary. I need to put this hiatus in context of an entire summer’s walking. No point in burning out the first few weeks.

Slow and steady is my usual modus operandi.

Work within the constraints of the weather.

I’m not entirely beholden to getting to point D on Day 4, or whatever.

With more bad weather I can always peel off to the Lewis Pass, or just pop out onto the Rainbow Road at Lake Tennyson.

I’m pretty easy-going, and can change plans in accordance with the external requirements of the situation.

In the meantime it’s just great looking out the window, not even drizzling, although fully overcast, watching the tuis feed on the flax flowers. They seem happy enough despite the gloom.

As am I.

Kinda tucked in my sleeping bag with my hoodie up.

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