A 6 am start. That’s better!

Plenty of stars on show, but how come it’s raining?

Still darkness for a while so I find some internet reception, and pick up some communication from friends and family. The last for a week, because I will soon turn a corner and it will almost immediately disappear.

Eventually I move off, somewhat sore from my longer yesterday, but the track is flat and along the old railway line.

It’s a day visiting the four 100-year-old railway viaducts that have all been restored for foot traffic. The largest at Percy Burn is 120 m long and 35 m high, taking 26 men a year to build and bankrupting the contractor in the process. Even getting the 20 m hardwood posts on site would have been an issue, let alone popping them in the ground then balancing another of similar length on top. They worked every day despite the weather because: no work, no pay. It was a tough life back before good winter waterproof clothing.

Now the Percy Burn Viaduct has been opened up it’s made my life easier and I could just trundle over them all. 35 m is a long way up, the equivalent of a 10 story building.

I had the daylight better worked out and had an hour or so at the hut before total darkness. As usual no fire. I was warm enough with dry clothes to put on.

Early darkness means early to bed with 10 hours lying in my sleeping bag. I can cope with that, because even this relatively easy day along the old railway line was 15 km.

I like the setting for the hut, with the large north-facing windows looking out on a clearing and the swingbridge over the dynamic Wairaurahiri River. The noise is constant as all that water from Lake Hauroko and its catchment speeds on past.

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