There’s not as much time as you might think just sitting around on a tramp.

I’m up at 6 20 am for immediate ablutions and making breakfast. A couple of cups of coffee and some heated muesli. Some tidying up and cleaning required after packing.

Then I’m on my way in a bit over two hours.

If I haven’t finished my blog from the previous day that needs to be done.

I read for maybe half an hour last night, and woke a couple of times in the night, quite disorientated, but soon realised where I was at.

That’s right. Three days’ walk from the road end.

Three big days.

Still, my pack weight is going down after seven days on this excursion.

Today was a repeat of the hardest, Day 3, with the giant swamp once across Angus Burn to traverse.

Some heavy rain during the night to fill any mud ponds, and while gloomy I was hoping for a day with less precipitation than yesterday. The long-distance forecast was for cloudy and 8° C, so I’d go with that.

The bush will be wet, however, and my expensive Kathmandu Gore-Tex over-trou have split a seam from crotch to knee. Gotta say that over-trou are entirely useful with so much mud splashing about.

But gaiters are essential. The tops of my boots are just like a funnel, willing to accept any fetid goo, twigs, etc, to make walking uncomfortable. Real boots also have better traction on the roots that makes dancing around the mud pools less a knee-deep experience.

So there is that as well.

Arrrr!! More rain!!

I could stay an extra day, but walking in the forest isn’t so bad with my new raincoat. Not that it keeps all the rain out.

Now for the hardest aspect of my day. Forcing my warm muesli down.

It’s way easier going back over a track. The first time it seems to take forever, particularly when it’s over uncomfortable terrain.

Well, the first section, almost half to Angus Burn was okay.

The rest was okay as well, as long as I didn’t worry too much about diving into the mud.

Actually, after the rain a few of the unabridged creeks took some thought to cross. The bottom depth was not always apparent, and I crossed most of the deep brown water on various fallen trees, or tree ferns.

This time the water was significantly deeper, and that made me more cautious. Not keen on breaking a leg. Or slipping on greasy logs or roots either.

But somehow I consulted my GPS and found I wasn’t far from the hut.

Then I could see it on the other side of the river. Last time I left in frost, when it mysteriously appeared just prior to the sun coming up. This time it was pools of water out on the front lawn.

So the day was spent walking through forest that had never been milled. The Maori owners didn’t allow the millers to have access.

So it’s a remarkable difference looking out the window at the Wairaurahiri Hut.

On the west side it is the original forest, although somewhat modified by deer and possums, etc.

On this hut side it’s manuka scrub with a few young trees emergent.

I enjoyed the day despite the bog, and starting to smell like a wet dog.

Tomorrow is of course much easier as I retraced my steps on the old tramline. That will seem pretty easy after the bog-fest today.

Looks like once again I will be the only one in the hut.

Just after 6 pm and feeling dark enough that walking in the forest would start to get to be an issue.

The shower comes through but it’s certainly brighter than it was this morning when it hammered in early on. Fortunately I managed to dodge most of the showers.

Yet another great day, and I should be in bed, dinner eaten, reading by 6 30 pm.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Wairaurahiri Hut

Bridge over the Wairaurahiri River is close by.  | Wairaurahiri Hut, near Fiordland National Park
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