A second gloriously cloudless day on the trot, that’s the one outcome I hadn’t really planned for, although I did include some sunscreen, luckily, for my nose.

No great enthusiasm for an early morning start, I being too tired last night to write my diary entry, too tired for much after a 10 hour walk, much of it scurrying. Instead I had a leisurely breakfast, two slow cups of coffee and the usual bucket of porridge and then some reading of the hut literature, there’s often something left behind, in this case some Federated Mountain Clubs mags and two issues of Wilderness, one I’ve glanced at before but that’s not going to stop me giving it a full perusal, enough for me to forget about my body for an hour or two in any case.

Last few days, well, quite a few, starting with that long days walk getting up to Caroline Creek Bivvy, since then I’ve been really on the go, still no day off and I’m now hitting Day 10 today. Overall my body is dog tired, did I say that before, not so much in the morning but by evening I’m in the slump, propped up, state.

My dodgy left knee is giving no problems, for some reason it’s the right one which has swelled, not so much an issue in the morning, but quite uncomfortable when horizontal. I assume I’ll be alright for the next few days, then I’ll be up to kick back.

My plan for dawdling has been abandoned, I’m into reasonable haste now.

After the six days in Abel Tasman and ten on the Heaphy with the tent, and now another ten days it’s all starting to catch up.

Events of the day: helicopter cruising past at low altitude, I could see the feet of the shooter hanging over the edge on the other side, or that’s what it looked like to me, then a trip to the lookout over Lake Sumner, where it seems the regrowth of the beech trees has continued in the ten years since I was last here, you can make out glimpses of the lake below through the foliage and the mountains around to the east.

I’ve heard of some windfall on the track so early on took to the river flats around to the swingbridge across the north branch of the Hurunui River, the flow spread and not too fearsome, a similar volume of water to the Waiau despite the rain a few days ago, I’m hoping that situation continues when I have to contend with the potentially gnarly Taramakau River in a few days time, a minimum of two crossings required.

Now stationed in this hut way up the hillside, I could see it from 5 km away, two other trampers/fishermen still not back here, fishing lines abandoned, they must have gone up to the hot pools which, with the windfall, maybe proving more difficult to negotiate.

It was 12 30, that’s am, when they staggered back in under the weight of two deer they had shot, they had been a few hours upstream when a deer had emerged around 9 30 pm, well, one had come out of the bush to feed so Phil had stalked it, and as he shot it another raced out, and not so sensibly stopped. Two down. Then they had to cut them up and pack out the heavy load, hence the late finish to the day.

Actually, I hear, they had had an early start for a pre-dawn hunt, then came back and changed to the fishing lines, fishing up the river for a lot of the day, an 8 pound trout landed but for some reason here you have to throw back everything over 400 mm. Brendan has fished last weekend on the Hurunui below the Lake Summer outfall, the most heavily packed trout river around, more than 200 catchable trout per kilometre, that’s one every 5 m.

They mucked around for another hour, it’s the middle of the night, then, as predicted as soon as horizontal Phil started snoring, a degree of contentment there in the tone, almost like a cat, but then, a very large cat indeed. A giant lion, or tiger, perhaps.

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