Tired? Yeah, a bit.

Actually dog tired, this has been my most energetic day since, well, who can recall? Plus there’s the effect of consecutive days marching, today is Day 9, so and the inadequate rations and it’s quite the sorry state.

At least I made my destination, I kinda had to, otherwise tomorrow would be another big day.

A perfect start even with a mild frost in being that cloudless day continued. Day 9 so the pack weight is reduced, err, sort of, thought I might make the road in time for the bus to take me the eight or 10 kilometres down to the start of the Harper Pass walk but in the end at 10 minute lie in and a second cup of coffee meant I just missed it, probably by 10 minutes, then again I’m pretty fatalistic something would come up.

I hitchhiked in not a bad spot, the Boyle Village turn off, but the cars just wanted to whizz on by, but did I care, a fantastic day, the mountains closely wrapped around, in the end after a not so patient hour and a half, 50 cars later, I thought stuff it and marched off, first on the Te Araroa Track, then, with the road having some sort of verge to walk along, out there.

Not far along is the DOC base hut for the Lewis Pass area where I was, err, based one summer long ago on a plant and animal survey team, part of a national effort for the NZFS, this area about as easy as you could hope for a survey, spending the day walking from the valley floor to the treeline, doing a full 20 × 20 m survey of the plant species every hundred metres and measuring the size of anything big enough to measure, tagging the trees that were big enough to tag. So much information gathered which, well, whatever happened to it back before computers could really crunch the data? I had additional duties as the birdcall recorder, chaffinch was high on the list, I’d learnt a few calls from LP records played over and over in said base hut.

A few k down the road, not halfway, someone, James, took pity on me and dropped me a few minutes later at Windy Point.

Having spent the morning with the four hour walk out from Magdalen Hut I unsurprisingly had no great enthusiasm for the 5 1/2 hour trudge up to Hope Kiwi Lodge, particularly the first third through the manuka scrub with the sun beating down, plenty of water consumed, mostly sweated out.

You were a couple of stray Poms in the Halfway Bivvy, somehow I remember this as a three sided shelter, no bunks, but it now is fully enclosed with six bunks, complete with mattresses, we chatted a while but despite being after 5 pm I kept going, it’s very much easier once you get to the river flats, can crank out the kilometres quickly there.

One little obstacle before Hope Kiwi, a stream just too awkward to cross without boot removal, although I tempted fate by crossing on four saplings inadequately secured.

Yes, dry feet for once all day, a big day, and the weather looks good for the next few.

Won’t be an early start in the morning.

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