Two reasons I felt the cold in the morning.

1. The stars were shining brightly when I awoke, although the ground was too sodden for frost. The frost arrived later, but before the sun actually came up.

2. Oh, and the hut door was strangely wide open. First time that has ever happened.

But it was sure lovely sitting drinking coffee and scoffing hot muesli while watching the sky brighten. The roar of the Wairaurahiri River was in the background, even without the door open.

Thought I might try a different tack this morning and get away before 11 am. Maybe I should have more than an hour of daylight on arrival at a hut for a change.

The sign at the swingbridge stated five hours, but I thought I might leave a little earlier to allow some time down at the beach.

Just as well is it took me more than five hours. The track was quite different from yesterday’s railway gradient and decent width to the track.

It was a standard DOC marked track that wound its way around the mixed podocarp forest with a thick undergrowth of crown fern.

The track?

Well, your basic bog.

The Godzone adventure race had gone through in early March and now five months later the ground was still all churned up.

It lasted like that for more than the first half. Just after Angus Burn it finally improved, but my skills of bog avoidance I picked up on a few visits to Stewart Island over the years paid off. No great catastrophes but having both my waterproof trousers and gaiters on kept the muck out of my boots.

A three-wire bridge that was fairly loose on the wiring needed to be negotiated.

Then after Angus Burn the track dried out, mostly, and better pace was achieved.

Great forest. Cheeky robins, one wanting to perch on my pack whilst attached to me. Finally a view of the sea, then I dropped down to the way to the river and had a short walk up to the hut.

Two DOC workers on stoat patrol explained the elf-like footprints I had followed for the section from Angus Burn. So some decent conversation for once in a hut.

And not into bed at 6 30 pm like the two previous nights.

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