Up before dawn to ensure an early getaway, ie, before 9 am.
More talking with the gals, I could get to like that. Hard to leave with one radiant smile that lit up my life, but they were soon to be choppered out, and I was keen to depart prior to that.
I’d been warned of a bog to traverse, but it was in no way comparable to the slog from yesterday.
Much of the way was great walking, but the track had not been cut recently after Aan River, where I stopped for lunch. The way was generally obvious, but the forest became increasingly claustrophobic due to some drizzly showers. My clothes were soon wet.
Too bad, I had places to be.
So much easier than yesterday. But then there was a period of tension.
I knew two things.
The hut location wasn’t shown correctly on the map. It was somewhere else, in a cave along the coast.
And DOC usually has signage indicating where any hut would be.
I cruised past where the turn-off for the track was supposed to be, according to the map.
Nope. Nothing to see.
Might as well continue. After another five minutes or so, my GPS indicated the hut was a hundred metres away.
Well, I knew that wasn’t true, but where was it?
I cruised through some forest to the cliff edge for a look, but other than a wild ocean, little was on display. Thought I’d continue for another 30 minutes maximum and then turn back.
But, to where? To go all the way back to Waitutu Hut would now require walking in the dark. That wouldn’t be fun.
The track dropped down into a creek and then went a hundred metres upstream. Now after crossing the creek, I was going downstream. Another steep climb ahead.
I made a little movie about my dilemma: standing bewildered in the forest, not knowing where the hut was.
Dunno, the climb was steep enough for the rope to give real assistance. Not much point going too much further than the top of the climb as the track veers inland.
After five minutes, a turnoff appeared. A sign stated: Hut 10 minutes.
Five minutes in the forest, a huge view was on offer at the cliff’s edge. Looking up to the Green Islets, pillars of rock emerged from the sea. More huge rocks immediately below, and a massive drop of the purely vertical kind.
Another rope in a goat track to the hut that is huddled under a big arch. Not my preferred site for a hut, but what the hell, it was only for one night.
The view was entirely dynamic with the seas smashing against the coast.
I’m thinking however that rather than staying a second night, I might hike up to Big River, about an hour each way, and then hightail it back to Waitutu.
Westies Hut is mostly well-appointed, at least for your average solo tramper, but it smells of rat in a big way.
That’s enough to encourage movement.