Kreig left fairly early just as it was getting sufficiently light in the forest, while I sat eating my breakfast.

This was a day of two parts.

An easy enough section over to Murray Beach, with the long trudge along the beach to the hunters hut, then a flattish section where you walk on an old logging tramline much of which has decking of one sort and another. That’s the easy part.

Then, at a low saddle, around 2 pm, the familiar up-and-down part came into its own. A mass of roots, sometimes on a considerable slope, muddy stretches, but, not so bad, and even occasional sublime track.

The track is always obvious. The tricky bits are climbing steeply down into the little creeks, but despite the rain were usually only ankle-deep. Lots of slithering climbs where previous feet had eroded the footholds and care needed to be taken. Energy expended.

It was just after 5 pm when I cruised past the hunters hut turnoff, knowing less than an hour of light remained. The last part is very much easier. DOC had trimmed the ferns back.

Hardly a cloud in the sky, so much lighter than Day 2’s gloom.

Just a short walk along the bouldery beach, and I was inside the hut, away from the sandflies.

Kreig had started to wonder where I was. I did explain that this was typical of my winter tramping itinerary. Arrive at the hut before dark. I’d rather spend time during the day just sitting in the forest, hearing the sounds that sometimes take a while to begin once again after a noisy intrusion.

Plenty to talk about, but I still slid into my horizontal position just after 8 pm. Neither of us is much interested in lighting fires.

All in all, a great day tramping.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Christmas Village Hut

Christmas Village Hut, North-west Circuit, Stewart Island
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