I could get to like these half days, as long as they don’t come with the washing requirements attached. More of the gear was washed this afternoon, the sun out fully and even the woollen items are almost dry.

I discovered that it is a lot easier to have a shave with four days’ growth of beard than two weeks I’d previously hacked at.

These are the small chores that are occasionally required in the field on these long expeditions, it can be put off for a while when the weather is not conducive, or just put off.

I guess I’m getting ready to make the acquaintance of the human race once more as I approach the Travis Sabine track at the Sabine Hut tomorrow and St Arnaud the day after. Indeed, I’ve even gone to the extent of scrubbing all the soot from my pot and kettle so the whole operation is looking near new.

The walk adjacent to the D’Urville has been attractive, although there has been plenty of river flooding in recent times with trees falling into the river and the track having moved by DOC further into the forest.

The rain a few days ago must have been more intense over this side, there is evidence of high flows through the forest and detritus high up next to the river. One party was trapped at the George Lyon Hut for an extra day, they stated in the hut book that the river was up 1.5 m which seems even slightly conservative from the evidence.

There was one gorge to climb around which offered a big view down the valley.

The weather has finally turned into what you might expect at this time of year, ie, settled, sunny, standard autumn gloriousness without being too hot but it is starting to get cool and therefore damp in the morning, a good reason to stay in a hut rather than a small soaking tent.

I finally have the sleeping bag nice and fluffy, rather than the clamminess of the preceding many weeks. Long may these conditions last, I’m hoping I can do Mt Cedric/Angelus route for my grand entry into the St Arnaud in two days time.

I think I should mention this, it’s almost 3 weeks since I left Greymouth and I’m unbelievably hungry. I’ve just finished dinner and brushed my teeth for desert.

And had a litre of water.

Since I picked up the food stash in Boyle Village, and had a little pig out there that night, there’s been slim pickings, exactly the bare rations I had allocated, with not much in the way of extra. I’ve been forced to go from two meals from my box of pasta back to three, and today, looking at myself in reflection of the hut window when I had my shave I’m guessing that I’ve lost a fair quantity of weight on this trip.

Now I’ve burned all my stored energy I’m just burning up my daily calorific intake and it just ain’t enough.

I’m ravenous.

Luckily I’ve been surprisingly disciplined in not just scoffing my entire food supply in one sitting and there’s only tomorrow night, after an average six hour day, mostly walking on easy river flats, then a big final day.

I’m saving a big lunch for the wander up Mount Cedric. Then, yup, I’ll be hitting New Zealand’s most expensive small shop at St Arnaud.

I can’t believe I haven’t hidden an extra kilo of rice somewhere, man, I better take extra food on the next stage to Havelock.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Morgans Hut

the new hut is real swish | Morgans Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
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