Hmmm. A grim looking day.

The roar of the sea as background music. The smell of rat heavy on my nose.

I think one night here will be sufficient. Yeah. That smell was getting to me and I was sure it wasn’t my own personal odour.

Pretty sure, anyway.

Yesterday’s walk had seemed pretty reasonable and nowhere near the six predicted hours of walking. It was only an hour over to Big River, that I could walk packless. Might as well try for the Big River, and head back to Waitutu Hut.

Tried and failed for an early start.

Well, up early enough but that sea was so dynamic. 4 m rollers smashing in at great pace.

Still, I managed to get away before 9 am and stash my pack near the track junction at the top of the cliff climb.

Of course the last section to Big River was the steepest/most slippery of the track. The moist dark brown soil under the tree ferns had an exceptional degree of lubrication.

Thought I might as well go down the 100 m slope to the river to check out how hard it would be to cross, and can report that at low tide it is a 15 m swim. Not something to do on a showery old day with the wind whistling in.

A few parties make the trip to Puysegur Point each year, but I won’t be one of them. Any notion of the track stops at Big River, and from there you have two choices. Continue on around the coast with, I guess, occasional climbs to get around the bluffs. Or, head over the tops with the bush bashing that is then required.

The view up the deep brown river valley was outstanding with the mist in the hills. Deer tracks, not this morning’s, in the sand. Not sure I’d like to live here year-round although if you appreciate solitude, the small campsite at Big River looks pretty good. Sandflies a problem even in mid-winter.

After 20 minutes strolling the beach it was time to turn around and head for home. Big River was as far west as I was gonna make it on this trip, but to be honest I’m likely to only walk this track once.

A few glorious views along the way, and the forest is interesting, but one trip to Westies has satisfied my curiosity about staying in a hut located in a damp sea cave.

Then it was a slow slither back to my pack, and smashing out the track to Waitutu.

That section of track is way better than the next, although from memory the first third isn’t so bad the way I’m heading. The last two-thirds is particularly boggy although with soaked boots, socks, etc, I may be less discerning with my path.

It was a surprise to stumble across the hut just before 5 pm. I had anticipated taking somewhat longer.

No smiling faces from DOC workers this time, but they had left me some booty. Half dozen eggs, some still green bananas, apples, oranges, and pleasant memories.

On my lonesome again so nothing for it but into my sleeping bag early on.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Waitutu Hut

Pretty similar to Wairarahiri Hut.  | Waitutu Hut, Fiordland National Park
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