Despite last night’s dodgy sleep one of the team got up before 7 am and I made my move then to rattle around.

Seems I was the only one with real coffee, gee, how do I have any of that left, and also eating a proper breakfast.

I mentioned I’d leave by 9am but it was a few minutes after when I finally was on my way. I knew I’d have a bigger day today, well, bigger than my initial itinerary called for which was a short day to the next, the old Hurunui No 3 Hut, a great place to stay but today I was into marching so I cruised on to the ancient and somewhat to rickety Cameron Hut, one of the last with an open fireplace remaining, I’d be happy staying there but if I moved on to Harper Pass Bivvy I might just be able to get to Kiwi Hut for a last night on the trail.

I sense I’m over it all, a bit, mostly with the old knees, OK, usually, while walking but not so much fun at night.

At times today I was on the track, went up to the hot pool which now has gained a cold water source to moderate the heat, recently measured at 40° C, but on this additional warm cloudless day there was no inspiration for an energy sapping dip.

Much of the way to Cameron from there I stayed on the river flats, I’ve heard of some time-consuming, frustrating windfall, in the end, with the river ankle-deep, I crossed it a couple times, but after Cameron Hut, the river narrowing, it seemed prudent to stay with the marked trail.

It helps to have my GPS to see where the track is likely to be, also I haven’t been carrying maps, just getting a digital photo from the maps on walls of huts to refer to, if I need, which I haven’t.

So I avoided the walkwire but got back into the forest for the stage up to the bivvy.

So now I’m sitting on the concrete steps of the bivvy, a curious tui has dropped just dropped in, there’s some new flax flowers nearby, the rustle of the creek.

The bivvy is three quarter size, just the 6 feet wide, 8 feet long, ie, I’m not actually able to fully stretch out in the bunk, and I’ve hit my head on everything, the upper bunk, twice, the short door, twice, the low-flying collar tie, a rafter, twice, basically I’m getting intimately involved. There’s also a considerable lean on the structure, better take that into account when rolling over in the bunk in the night.

For once the hut book has been around for a while, going back to April 2001, Geoff Chapple’s name in February 2002, the guy who instigated Te Araroa, not so many entries back then. On 17 May 2002 I see my name together with my partner of the time, I remember it was cold and wet, we were cold and wet, and I managed to create a roaring fire, was almost unbearably hot in our tiny compartment, we had to leave the door open for a while, over achiever. I’m not sure Nicole was so impressed with the level of accommodation, but we both loved our Little Adventure, at least we did interesting things.

The open fire has wisely been removed and the saggy canvas bunks have been replaced with mattresses.

I make a note of the changes in the numbers of people passing through with February/March 2002 having 12 groups, or 19 people, and for a similar period this year it was 46 groups, with 80 people, although not many stayed.

One thing I still haven’t really adjusted to is the amount of daylight, it’s now after 8 30 pm and still light enough to be walking, even in the forest. Not far to summer.

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