Somehow I remember having heard that Lake Chalice wasn’t much and haven’t made much effort to get here before now.

The track up the Goulter is rather nice, good red beech forest, well enough maintained, the track that is, great huts. Overall it’s very pleasant tramping on an almost benched track.

I potter along, mostly high above the river, the major surprise is reaching the lake’s dam wall, created by a massive land slip around 2000 years ago I read. There’s no river outlet from the lake, just massive seepage as you climb the blockade, it’s bizarre to climb a little ridge with water oozing out between your feet.

The lake is way down, maybe 6m below capacity and has a colour the shade of emerald green forest, everything still except for some additional bird life, ie, there are actually a few bellbirds around. Plenty of wasps.

And in the hut, the usual, a fair congregation of mice. One runs across the floor, then notices my eyes, a startled look, and a rapid scuttling as mice are prone to do. They really are quite busy in their movements when their home is invaded.

Just before nine, it’s been dark a while and I’ve been slumbering, three hunters show up. It’s Friday night and we’re not so far from Blenheim, they are just getting out of the house for a break. They stage a war on the mice, but I’m too heavy-lidded to care.

Early to bed, early to rise, any mice worries way down my list of concerns.

Actually my concerns are currently a fairly short list:

Will I have sufficient food for my proposed cross-country travels in the next few days, I thin out the porridge to make the sixth breakfast;

The weather is good for tomorrow, after that poor for two days, right when I’m on the tops;

will I run out of toilet paper, I’ve carried it all from Invercargill and stocks are low;

Anything else?

Maybe a concern about the length of day tomorrow, its 15 km or so downhill on a 4WD track, Staircase Road, before I start 1000 m climb to the Richmond Saddle Hut.

That’s about it in the Worried Department.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Lake Chalice Hut

the hut isn't exactly adjacent to the lake | Lake Chalice Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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