Quiet. Oh, so quiet.

The hut wasn’t as close to flowing water are some of my recent accommodations.

A solid eight-hour sleep.

My body hadn’t really had time to adjust to the continual walking for a while, having had only two days off, Otamatapaio Hut and Ranfurly, in the previous 16 days. And has had plenty of exercise since I walked over Blind Saddle behind Kaikoura just over a month before.

I think I’d overachieved, having cracked out more than half a million steps, at more than 17 k a day, all the while carrying the pack that anyone else would describe as “heavy” or “You have to be crazy”.

I had lost much of my winter conditioning, although I still cast a shadow.

I planned one more overnighter, then some big day walks around Queenstown before I headed north once again.

In the meantime, I had Top Hut to get to. Many river crossings both up and back, but it was walking with a difference.

No pack!

It was amazing how much easier movement was without the substantial weight of the pack on my back.

Surprisingly cool. And overcast. Not at all summer-like.

The 8 km had a rise of only 200 m, and I scarcely noticed it. It seemed almost flat until I turned around and realised I had some real momentum on my way back.

I’m not sure whether this excursion was worth it, other than inspecting the huts. It involved a lot of walking on almost flat four-wheel drive tracks, much of the way with wet feet again.

But I now have the scope to say I know plenty about Oteake Conservation Park, having walked most of the tracks and visited all ten of the DOC huts.

My favourites were Buster Hut and Ida Railway Hut.

I have filled in a gap my knowledge of this part of the country. It’s pretty different from the Pakituhi Hut/Mount Martha area that isn’t so far away, but is more traditional tramping than rampaging around these four-wheel drive tracks.

Time to move on.

← Day 15 | Boundary Creek Hut, Oteake Conservation Area