Not much rain during the night, and the ground wasn’t even damp in the morning.

A clear sky.

It’s not that I’m not nuts, but immediately I thought I take the ridge route back to the Buster Saddle. Half as far again with additional climbing, but what the hell.

I don’t believe I’d ever be coming back, so I might as well go out on a high. Rather than wander up Guffies Creek, crossing knee-deep a few times, down in a hole.

No river crossings were required that way, and I would appreciate that the woodburner had helped to dry out my boots.

The morning started with a sustained climb for around 300 m, then some hours of slow climbing on a typical flat ridge.

After what I’d done the previous days, it didn’t look too bad, plus, it would complete a full circuit of the conservation park.

I followed some deer footprints on the dusty track; they hadn’t been there on my way down the previous night. Later I caught up with one before it hightailed over the tussock.

Later I saw another two, so they were indeed around.

I also checked out three musterers’ huts along the way. The first and last were dirt-floor, unlined-style, both in poor condition. Let’s just say decrepit condition to be more truthful.

Long Promise Hut had remnants of the original bunk bedding: tussock with hessian sacking over the top. That was the first time I’d seen that. Also, 1000 longneck beer bottles adjacent to the hut. It was swampy all around with the water supply looking dodgy.

Soldiers Hilton was built in 1991 and was in good repair.

Blue Duck Hut was back to a dirt floor, the timber structure around the open fire was charred and dusty/junk everywhere. Kapok mattresses ripped. Sadly uninhabitable.

The blue skies slowly disappeared behind clouds, and the temperature dropped appreciably. Wind ripped.

Just the slow up-and-down and somewhat meandering follow of more ridges.

Suddenly I was back at the point I was dropped off at the top of the 700 m climb, which I now had to descend. 4 30 pm, and not much prospect of a ride.

I planned to stay at the old Buster Huts on the park boundary, so I could walk out the 5 km to the car in the morning.

Then, a four-wheel drive was spotted, and I waited at a flat spot to have a chat with the driver and cadge a lift. He ignored me and rolled on past, pretending I wasn’t there.

Man, that hadn’t happened before.

But in the way things work out, a four-wheel drive convoy soon appeared, squeezed me in, and before long I was standing by my car trying to find my keys, and wondering if it would start after 12 days of standing stationary.

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