Two issues in the morning.

Firstly, I woke at 7 45 am.

Secondly, when I pulled the curtains it was drizzling Southland style.

so, I was late and going to be wet. Not a great start to the day.

It was at least 10 am when I reached the Rarakau car park at the start of the track, and a while longer to change into my long tramping trousers and overtrou, boots, etc. And shake down my final pack.

The rain dissuaded me from carrying a tent so that saved some weight.

A full 12 days of food aboard.

The first day covers a range of terrain: forest, beach, more forest, but lacks one normal aspect of tramping: hills. A few ups and downs but they are all minor, and the track almost is at Great Walk standard.

The forest is mighty fine and helped, along with my peaked woollen hat, to keep any rain off my glasses. By 12 noon precipitation stopped, and life was good, although chilly and still damp.

The DOC sign at the start of the track states seven hours to the hut, but with my pack and interest in things along the way, and certain match fitness or lack thereof, the last hour was accomplished in pitch darkness. This really is a downside to mid-winter walking.

A bonus, however, is a lack of companionship in the newly renovated hut. It has been re-roofed and now apparently has better bracing.

Still, it was chilly enough for my breath to show inside, but I didn’t bother with the wood burner. My sleeping bag seemed a better alternative.

At times I wished for not quite so much energy expenditure during the day, or better weather, or longer daylight hours as the sun is setting at 5 37 am currently but it was me who chose this particular itinerary, and after all, it is mid-winter. The coldest weeks of the year.

On the other hand, it could be seriously raining.

Perfection in tramping is all very well, but to be honest, I’m loving being back on this great track, and I do like this old schoolhouse, with its three-tiered bunks.

Day 2 | Wairaurahiri Hut →