Back again at Freshwater hut.

But, what a day!!

Stars out, and a beautiful sunrise. That was a great start.

I was away early, thinking I could get to North Arm Hut, as long as I made Freshwater Hut by 12 30 am. Time to pull finger.

It wasn’t looking hopeful when it was after 11 am when I made the Tolson River swingbridge, but then it was just walking on those sand dunes with a few swampy interludes.

Actually, I was much speedier now the water level over the track, and generally, was down. All the swamps were relatively easily negotiated, mainly because I now have realised it is possible to take my pack off, and heave it across a gap. Then use my long limbs to leap across.

That all worked, although I was knee-deep in water in places, and my beautifully dry boots and socks were washed with less than ideal water.

The highlight of the swamp was recognising a whitetail deer in the distance, out in the open, although it was on the adjacent sand dune. I managed to get a few photos of it as it stood there, trying to work out what I was.

They seem lonely as their family and friends do seem to get shot and eaten.

Then, a second deer was under the swingbridge when I arrived at the hut, and I met it again on the track later in the day.

It was right on 12 noon when I made it to the hut. I come to the realisation I could walk to North Arm, but the low tide was too early, it would be fast coming in by the time I was over Thompson Ridge and down the other side.

But with as good a day as you could have for the last day of winter, it seems sensible to climb Rocky Mountain, 549 m. That’s the second-best view on the North West Circuit after Mount Anglem/Hananui.

That means I could time the tide right for tomorrow, ie, low at 4 pm, so if I made it to the beach by 2 pm I only need to be leaving around 11 am.

Anyway, Rocky Mountain was worth the effort.

That was a significant climb after my morning’s exercise.

I could see almost around to Oban, and certainly other historic sites on the south side of Patterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, Table Hill and some of the Tin Range I explored in late 2014. Couldn’t quite make out Freds Camp due to the hills I climbed earlier on after leaving the hut. Mount Rakeahua, much of southern Mason Bay, the Island Hill Homestead, the sand at Hellfire Pass, the Ruggedy Mountains, Codfish Island with Solander Island visible over the top, and the entire Freshwater Valley.

A lot to take in on a perfectly fine day, almost cloudless, but with a salt haze despite the complete lack of wind.

Certainly worth the energy expenditure, and may help me sleep tonight.

Just the last night at North Arm, hopefully with a green-lipped mussel feast. Escaped from the mussel farms across the water. Fingers crossed.

It’s early to bed to eat dinner in my sleeping bag. That sounds familiar.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Freshwater Hut

Freshwater Hut, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
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