My itinerary had me at Long Harry Hut for a couple of nights, but I spent one at Smoky Beach. No point now in hanging around a second day at Long Harry, so I’m back on track.

The stars were out in the early morning, and that’s superior to the alternative.

I’d found out the batteries I charged up for my radio were omitted in my baggage, just as I’m about to turn the corner to the west coast of the island. That means I’ll have to be on radio rations from now on, unless I find some abandoned AAs in a hut that aren’t completely flat. And I’d been thinking I was carrying three spares.

Also, my large power bank for the phone failed to hold much charge and it was completely flat, so my two smaller backups will have to suffice. Rations on phone use as well. It’s the start of Day 9 so I have another 12 days to go, all being well.

The DOC sign indicated six hours for the day, but I’d be leaving early to make the most of the sunlight.

Went to bed early last night and woke up to find it was just after 8. So much for an early start.

It took a little time for my brain to register that it was still evening. Another 10 hours of sleep to go.

That all meant I sprang up before 6 am and had an early breakfast. Pretty obvious the next few mornings should be early starts, as the DOC signage after today will say the distance between huts is seven hours. That is actual tramping time, not including breaks. And, I found it was for those of a more youthful physical state, who were unencumbered with as much baggage as I was lugging.

Today was great.

The track had a bit of everything, including a whitetail deer sighting.

It started with the familiar up-and-down of the creeks draining off Mount Anglem/Hananui with the greasy descents and climbs included with no extra charge. Some speedy walking through manuka forest near the old Long Harry Hut site. That has a few remnant hut piles right on the track, and a sunken steel drum. That old hut was transferred to Doughboy and renovated some time ago as it was located in a penguin breeding area.

Then followed a descent to a mega rocky beach with plenty of rock hopping to encourage lunchtime appetite. Then some greasy, overgrown, and muddy track both before and after the marvellous lookout. I’ve written about how that particular location is my favourite in the world as you look over to the Rugged Isles, down on East Ruggedy Beach and sand dunes, all the way down the Freshwater Valley to Mount Rakeahua, with the Ruggedy Mountains to the west.

That’s about the halfway point on the North West Circuit in distance.

The last section was crossing East Ruggedy Stream to wash much of the mud off my boots then power through the large sand dunes to get up to the hut.

Kiwi calling in the distance, but none seen for the day.

The weather cleared up after starting with mizzle, and while at the lookout there was even some direct sunlight. I hadn’t seen much of that recently.

No wind. It’s quite silent.

Another big day tomorrow.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: East Ruggedy Hut

East Ruggedy Hut, North-west Circuit, Stewart Island
← Day 7 | Long Harry Hut Day 9 | Hellfire Pass Hut →