A night on my lonesome, I was up late reading the hut literature and woke later than is customary, but today was just a whizz around to East Mataki, three hours, no great rush.

No rain heard during the night so I dawdled my way up, uncharacteristically, but then the rain started which made me think it was time to leave in a hurry before that Mt Maling Stream starts looking ugly.

Problem was that the cooker jet is getting clogged, I crank up the pressure but it is still pitiful and maybe takes an hour to heat two kettles for the two cups of coffee, and of course, the porridge. In the end I eat the porridge before it’s boiled, too bad, everything packed and it’s just after 11 am.

The creek was way down, not even getting over the top of my boots as I scamper across.

It is full on autumn rain however, I’m going to get fully wet, and it’s not long before I’m crossing one of the steep side creeks, over knee deep as I inch my way across, not interested in falling in there, and brushing past the windfalls, yup, I’m mighty soaked.

The colours in the forest really come out with the application of water. It is amazingly beautiful forest through here where not so many walk and where the track hasn’t been cut in a long while.

This is the first real day of heavy rain I can remember, I’ve had days of many short showers but not the whole time with the weather just seriously coming down.

My coat lets plenty of water through, let’s face it, it’s not fantastic but despite all that dampness, I’ve put my Lawrence of Arabia head garb under my hood so my glasses stay dry, mostly, and I really couldn’t care less.

As a kid there were plenty of days like this, best to get to a hut and dry off before cooling down too much, continual movement is the key to staying warm, and I’ve got those overtrou doing their thing as designed for once.

The three-wire bridge at the bottom of the West Mataki is fun, there’s somewhat of a torrent below, the gorge is running high, I have a moment where I picture falling but that’s never going to happen.

At least there is a huge stack of dry firewood at East Mataki, I’m cold and wet, so it’s not long before I get a small fire happening, dry out some clothing and warm myself up.

What a great day.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: East Mataki Hut

East Mataki Hut, just like every other photographer, Nelson Lakes National Park
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