My separate and more luxurious car camping gear proved helpful. A spacious two-person tent and my bullet-proof Thermorest sleeping pad.

Sadly I hadn’t really stocked up on food in the car other than a bag of carrots, so it was standard issue coffee and porridge rations for breakfast, with water from the Kye Burn. It took a while to sort my food out for this next 10-day trip, but it was relatively easy as I pre-bagged each meal at home after weighing it out.

Plenty of condensation in the tent, which I attempted to dry out.

I was hoping for a real breakfast from Danseys Pass Hotel, but when I arrived it was closed due to staff shortages.

All the same, it was after 12 pm when I made it to the first creek crossing on Buster Road. With the track looking even more chunky on the other side, I decided to walk the 5 km up to the start of the climb.

This was the sort of four-wheel drive road that is best accompanied by a podcast so that provided some relief for my brain.

By the time I’d had a poke around the two old huts at the boundary of the Oteake Conservation Park it was after 2 30 pm. With still considerable tiredness from the previous two energetic days, I was seriously considering pitching my tent.

I could see in the distance some approaching vehicles, and after a persuasive chat, they took me up the full 700 m climb that was next on my itinerary, including getting through a knee-deep stream. Man, those side-by-sides could crank up those metres.

The boys were also amused at me being old-fashioned: using my feet to get around.

I reused my old joke: why didn’t I think of touring on my posterior?

Thanks, guys.

That just left another 3 km on the plateau to get to the hut.

After a kilometre of walking, I met a trail bike rider who was feeling sore after a day in the saddle and worried about running out of petrol.

I was running out of gas too, but the hut wasn’t that far.

That all worked out well.

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