Orange light low on the horizon as the sun rose over the sea. Dark clouds above and already I’ve decided not to spend another night here, ie, climb Hananui/Mount Anglem.

Other than the inclement weather as a disincentive, it would add another day to my trip, and maybe I’d prefer to have that at Doughboy.

On your own these are long nights. In bed by 6 pm, maybe earlier, that means almost 12 hours horizontal.

To skip a hut I’d need to be away now by now, 6 45 am.

But I’m happy to sit around another hour or so before packing up. Read the hut literature. Write this. Drink coffee.

Contemplate being here.

I chose to be here, at this time. Trained for it my whole life. Might as well appreciate these circumstances.

I’ve said I’m unlikely to ever come back a few times now. And yet here I am once again.

You never know what opportunities life will give you.

It’s cool being the last day of winter, but not cold enough for a frost. In any case the sea is only about 25 m away, the ground damp, high humidity, and some cloud cover. Not really a surprise.

Plenty to like about this tramp. The huts are often near the sea. While the track doesn’t follow the coast too closely, often it can’t be seen, beach walking is on offer most days. Maori, Sawyers, Murray, Lucky, Smokey, East and West Ruggedy, Waituna, Mason Bay, Doughboy, plus a few other places, including some rock hopping.

The track is, err, variable. Lots of ups and downs, but never too far. Yesterday’s climbing for instance was under 700 m, and that came in about 20 short steep climbs mostly. 700 m descent as well.

The mud has solidified, mostly, due to the paucity of recent traffic and rain. Plenty of tree roots to negotiate.

But no complaints about the track. It’s well enough marked, and completely obvious on the ground.

These huts are great.

The supplied handsaw is well rusted and that dissuaded me from lighting the fire. I picked up an arm full of wood from the beach last night. But I avoid fires if possible when on my lonesome.

The water supply tanks have great water. No smoky taste discerned.

The outlook is just fantastic.

And, of course, I have the place to myself. If someone catches up for a night, or comes the opposite direction, well, they will no doubt race off and leave me to my solitary contemplations all too soon.

Just about the perfect tramp for those who don’t need totally heroic adventures, for whatever reason.

I just plod on.

A late getaway. Was it 10 am or so?

It didn’t take long for rain or at least heavy drizzle to eventuate, although the forest provided some shelter. The morning walk to Lucky Beach is about the most attractive around. Mature rimu with crown fern understory. The track tends to follow the contour, and that makes for easy walking once you’ve climbed up the first hundred metres.

Saw my first two kiwi. One that snuck in behind a tree, and came within 2 m of me before realising I wasn’t another tree.

Plenty of parakeets although I could only hear them. Precise species not identified.

Yes, there was a large amount of dithering in attempting to get cell phone connection, but I managed to get the Internet for about 10 minutes. That was sufficient to get the weather forecast for the next 10 days. Rain on Sunday, when I’m intending on a rest day at Long Harry, and otherwise nothing to worry about.

Bear in mind that today no rain was predicted, but standing out in the weather I noticed that wasn’t the current state, ie, rain in some abundance, so I’m not sure how much worth to give to the forecast of any future “dry” spell.

But the weather doesn’t matter too much here, as long as you are dressed for the occasion. I’ve got my overtrou and gaiters, my newish raincoat and beanie for the top. I wear a woollen T-shirt, my long-sleeved shirt with a zipable top pocket, and a fleece vest under. If I get too hot I change hats, or leave them off altogether.

In the end I was leaving Lucky Beach around 3 pm with still plenty of walking to go. The last hour was pretty easy, and I snuck into the empty hut around 5 30 pm.

Still sufficient light to get unpacked, and dinner on the go. And I picked up an armload of firewood on the beach, but as usual preferred to wrap up rather than light a fire.

Cup of soup, followed by curried chickpea and venison stew will have to do to warm me up.

I resolve to have slightly more daylight hours at the next hut tomorrow, and pledge to leave around 9 am, even if the walk is shorter by at least an hour.

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