Okay, this has been one of my most unusual tramps. Lots of walking for seemingly little point.

Some may claim that about any of my excursions, but it is because the clear point of my efforts wasn’t really apparent, and having a hut as a destination is generally antithetical to my usual modus operandi.

The last two days of the trip were mostly cranking out excessive kilometres on farm tracks.

What’s that all about? I suppose it was to get back an aspect of fitness in an area I wanted to get a better appreciation for as most of the reason. A shake down trip that didn’t have too much pressure.

So that was a success.

Except the last day’s effort remained. The climb up to the unnamed saddle at around 1200 m, then a more than 1000 m descent. My body was feeling exhausted after yesterday’s long stroll, when I spent over seven hours in motion.

Despite rising in the dark, and sitting drinking coffee, procrastination set in while I listened to stories from my two hut companions, one of whom used to be a publican in Kaikoura, more than 30 years previously. Both had been coming into the area for at least that long. Few of the stories had much to do with tramping or hunting, but after I burned my soaking porridge in my stainless steel pot, a first for me, both attempting soaking and the burning, they offered me some sausages to help me get up the hill.

Eventually I departed, and they were both astonished at the weight of my pack, despite being my eighth day.

Yeah, it sure felt heavy, and I couldn’t work out why. Guess I just packed in excessive stuff. Some that was never used, like my tent. Well, it makes a terrific pillow.

The hill starts reasonably steeply, after the final two stream crossings.

Been going about 40 minutes and could hear a car coming. No, it was the two hunters in their little side-by-side and they suggested that they take me up to a little saddle about 300 m higher up.

For sure, you can have too much of a good thing.

That saved at least an hour’s trudge up the hill.

Right on the 1200 m saddle, I finally encountered the two cyclists I’d heard about from an earlier convoy of pig hunters who had been heading into the hills for a long weekend.

“What happened to your pedal?”

“Oh, I had an accident and can’t straighten my leg.”

Clearly pushing your bike 1000 m up the steep hill on one leg wasn’t really doctor’s orders. She was having an operation the next week to sort it out.

The things people do, I thought to myself as she hobbled off up the last of the slope. At least from there it was all downhill, well, until she had to push it back up in a couple of days.

Frankly, the track is just too steep for genuine cycling pleasure. Brakes would be red hot, and hands cramping by the time the road levelled out.

I made it down most of the steep bit before a builder doing work at Muzzle Station took pity on me also now hobbling along the last few kilometres.

Yeah, those fabric boots aren’t too great in the downhill direction, the fabric being too flexible to hold my feet securely.

Now, a few days off would be useful. Also, for the rest of my body.

It was sure feeling itself.

← Day 7 | Warden Hut, back again