With the 4 pm low tide, there was no great rush in the morning. From memory, if I get that tide correct it’s a very straightforward walk along the shore, and I can pick up a few mussels along the way. (Memories can be fallible, however.)

That would be a suitable penultimate day for this journey.

After all, I will be on the manicured Rakiura Highway after that, getting mentally prepared for reacquainting myself with civilisation. It will have been 16 days since I saw another person.

I still have two days of food, so that has been well rationed. Plenty of fuel, due to the near-empty canisters found along the way.

What’s left in my pack? Empty canisters!!

That’s why these long tramps I prefer my Whisperlite liquid fuel stove.

10 am was my targeted leaving time, but it worked out more than an hour later for some reason. Yeah, procrastination.

I hadn’t realised how much that Freshwater Hut dash, and Rocky Mountain climb yesterday had taken on my body and my pace was ambling rather than a rush.

Lots of roots, and some mud. The south side of the climbs have generally been much more mucky.

Some old New Zealand Forest Service boardwalk for the boggy bits at the top, but these are now 40 years old and not always in fine repair.

No problem about the loss of the swingbridge as the fresh stream water washed some stinky mud off my boots.

That was hardly necessary as when I reached the shoreline of the inlet the tide wasn’t all that far out. While initially starting in soft mud, it turned out easiest, and mostly required to walk knee-deep for the majority of the way.

Where trees had fallen in, it was almost at underpants level as I skirted around them, so I bunged all my electronics in my pack just in case I tripped on a stray rock. At least it was mostly a sandy bottom, but my gaiters were well and truly washed by the time I staggered into the newly renovated hut.

I gathered my third feed of blue mussels along the way, and was for some reason unable to spot any of the green-lipped variety.

Not long after arrival, a massive deluge started, that quickly lulled me to sleep.

Strange to have this hut to myself as it is usually well populated, being a Great Walk hut.

I could recognise in the hut book the names of my companions from the first night out at Port William, which is now almost three weeks ago.

So, last night and for a while.

My body will require at least a week or so to recover from the full-body immersion endured on the full North West Circuit. Walking through thigh-deep water for almost two hours does tend to weary an aging bloke.

I thought I’d had the tides worked out, and probably did because it is now mid-lunar cycle, and the tides are not as variable as the time of the full moon.

But today was the kind of Little Adventure I really appreciate. And a fitting end to my three-week tramp.

I feel like a teenager again.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: North Arm Hut

North Arm Hut, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
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