No surprise I was up early, and rationing the use of my headlight. For some reason, I left my three extra sets of AAA batteries behind, and following that walking in the darkness on the first night, the first set has almost expired. Just the one spare set.

One of those days I was reasonably well prepared for with plenty of swamp bashing, but at least I knew the last third was going to be easier.

The thing to do when confronted with endless bog is to realise that it will eventually finish, and being focused and forwarned helped. Man, those first two days are so easy. The key is to continue with forward momentum and just not think too much about where feet will land exactly. The mud looks much worse than it is, because few people walk this track.

Sometimes no easy choice was offered. Little choice other than just to slide down into the mud to slither under fallen trees.

It was just one of those endless days of knowing progress was important, and therefore pulling my finger out.

Seems a few come down the Wairaurahiri River from Lake Hauroko by jet boat and walk out. So not much churning of the mud as you might find on the North West Circuit or Rakeahua valley. Plenty of roots to leap to and fro. They are plenty slippery, but when hit perpendicularly no problem.

It was already after 3 pm when I hit Angus Burn. Still the last 45% in distance to go, and less than three hours to do it before darkness again.

My memory banks were somewhat faulty. It was much easier, but still had its moments, such as fallen trees. The missing bridge where I had to wade in over my knees. At least that washed some mud off.

At 5 pm I found myself more than a kilometre away with plenty of haste. After an hour later I was looking down at the swingbridge and river. Still sunlight as I hit the hut but by the time I had changed clothes and had my sleeping bag unrolled it was pitch dark.

The DOC sign at Wairaurahiri Hut had stated five hours, but I noted at this end a similar sign says seven hours. With my continual dalliance taking photos, it had taken me eight and half hours.

I don’t need to mention that no one else was in the hut. Who would come out here mid-winter?

← Day 2 | Wairaurahiri Hut Day 4 | Waitutu Hut, night 2 →