Oteake Day 2, but it already felt like I’d been gone for a long while.

The morning, in fact the day, was spent in damp cloud—a marked difference from yesterday’s pleasant sun.

No quick getaway as I waited for the clouds to lift. Or, just sat around drinking coffee.

My chosen route started with a 250 m climb, sidled around, then dropped down a ridge to Brown Hut.

All relatively sedate and a generally easier version of the Clarence River valley from a week or so ago.

It felt pretty bleak when I stopped at Brown Hut. The shelter was appreciated, but it’s not really up to DOC standard.

I took my hoodie off, but found my beanie to keep my head warm.

After a while, I dropped 250 m down into Guffies Creek valley, which required five crossings, including a couple over knee-deep to cool me down.

A 20 km day, according to my phone app, and that sounded about right.

No one else was in the jumble of rooms linked by a roof, although there had been five the previous night.

The new boots I bought in Christchurch were going well, much lighter than the ones causing me issues in the Kaikouras. Even my knee felt okay.

I hadn’t seen anyone all day, probably due to the weather. The last half-hour had fine drizzle, but it was supposed to clear up overnight. It didn’t feel exactly like the middle of a Central Otago summer.

I used about a third of some excess firewood brought in by the four-wheel drivers to light a fire to warm me up and help dry my trousers and socks.

Then carried a mattress to the cosy living room that houses the woodburner and benches. I was hoping the weather would improve for the following day.

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