Sunday. Not that means a lot out here.

Not having contact with the world by my radio as I have usually carried on these trips, time is standing still.

And with the dense cloud it’s difficult to judge the time.

I know it is morning because I have seen the light develop.

Long Harry is an obvious place for a day off from walking the North West Circuit because it is a comfortable, light-filled hut, roughly at the halfway point. Oh, and there is a good probability of seeing the kiwi or two, just by keeping an occasional eye out the window.

I woke up early and read another couple of Alice Munro short stories. She has an ability to conjure up a picture in a few sentences, without being vividly descriptive. The stories are similar in that they usually about unrequited love, a female protagonist, and overbearing mother, a father who dies young and doesn’t feature. Always the death of a woman, and the story told often in retrospect. And at times one of the peripheral characters disputes the narrator’s take on things.

Lots of heartburn, and women living with the idea of what has been, or what could have been.

Munro is a great storyteller. Economical. Things described concisely. Inexplicable decisions about women leaving decent well-meaning men, what becomes of the children not always explained, for a life somewhere else that never eventuates as they might anticipate.

[I read a totally apt review of the first story on my return. Two sisters. One man. Much misery.]

Just the thing to read on a gloomy day with the predicted rain coming down. At least the hut is not buffeted by strong winds like last night.

Yeah, I’m well on my way through my second round of coffee, the end of today’s ration.

Kiwis have been making an occasional racket in the distance. Every few minutes I look out on the off chance one has emerged, but usually my eye is drawn to the rounded granite rock on the other side of the stream chasm.

I’ve swept the windowsills clear of the buildup of dead flies, and sandflies. It’s all as homely as it can get without lighting the fire. Wood is considerable labour to scrounge around here. You have to walk 100 m up the hill and find some manuka that has blown over. I guess I’ll leave lighting it until someone else turns up.

That’s possible if they are coming the other way, or jumping huts. With the next three huts being six hours, seven hours, and seven hours anyone going my way is likely to have to share for a few nights as we progress together.

The drizzle continues.

Eventually it is full on rain for about 20 minutes, the rain lashing the hut, then about 4 pm it seems to clear up. The clouds are higher except for a few that seem to be coming from the south west.

The temperature is low, probably mid-single digit so eventually I go out and find some firewood, dead manuka up the hill, light the fire and raise the room temperature so I can no longer see my breath.

As the afternoon progresses I cease to wonder about someone coming from Yankee River, 4.5 hours, then East Ruggedy Hut, six hours, where I intend to be tomorrow night at this time, and by 5 pm the possibility of a hut jumper from Christmas Village is precluded.

Otherwise it will be my third night on my lonesome, something I’m fully accustomed to.

Plenty of reading today, a painful shave, general cleaning, and an afternoon nap. My muscles have been well rested.

Might even try for an earlier start tomorrow. Like earlier than 10 am.

In my sleeping bag with my hood up, I’m quite cosy.

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