No rain when I woke! That makes a change.

The rivers should be down sufficiently to make my way out at least.

The Waitutu River looked as if it had gone down to about the level when I came in. The little lakes were dissipating, but still washed my feet on my way to morning ablutions.

Now those creeks that might prove troublesome may make reasonable passage.

I packed up early, and then just before leaving, with the weather seemingly clearing, I thought I might have a look at the track to Slaughterburn. I could always come back, so, an early start.

I had a GPX route for the true left bank, the east side, and that had that one issue. A large stream that would need to be crossed. Then again, I could always turn back.

It was around three hours to the hut I discovered, and that was as it turned out. Others may make more haste.

The track was extraordinarily well marked with yellow triangular markers, meant for trapping lines, except for the actual drop to the stream that had my concerns. That was only well-marked. Generally, it was easy travel through quite open country, with mature trees, and crown fern on the forest floor, and not much in between. The deer were seriously working on any regeneration.

A deer enclosure showed that the undergrowth would cover the landscape if it wasn’t pruned so extensively.

Somehow the completely un-muddy track, open forest, and easy terrain reminded me of my early days of tramping as a youth. The DOC workers do any necessary track work, and a chainsaw had been in use at times.

The suspect creek was easily crossed on a fallen tree trunk, and would have been fordable in any case, with the water level clearly having gone down.

It turned out that this has to be my favourite day tramping in Southland.

The area clearly gets plenty of rain with the foliage vibrant shades of green and yellow/green.

Eventually, I reached the three-wire bridge that had been worked on in very recent times. The river was well down, and an excellent short track up to the hut was the biggest surprise of the day.

It turned out to be a lovely six-bunk hut, built 2009, so double-glazed and insulated. It has seldom been used, except by occasional hunting parties, and more frequent DOC personnel for various reasons, mainly monitoring traps or rat tunnels.

A couple of 1080 drops had wiped out stoats and rats. Kaka and kakariki were heard, along with the usual bellbirds, brown creepers, robins, fantails, tuis, etc, seen.

I startled one deer almost at the hut, sunning itself on the riverbank.

It would have been good to spend those extra nights at this cosy hut rather than the rather cold Waitutu Hut. But now I didn’t have sufficient time to even spend a second night.

The hut book praises both trap lines tracks, so I will be returning by the true right side that avoids the two bridges.

Might be more direct. And keep this Little Adventure going.

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