Two nights on the Wakamarina Track, Mt Richmond Forest Park

After a couple of weeks with my head down concentrating on some paid work with some intensity, it was time to take to the hills.

Not quite a spontaneous decision, I had 24 hours contemplation.

I thought I’d get in before the Labour Day long weekend in a week’s time. At that point the locals decide winter is over and shake off the winter cobwebs. There’s the possibility that there may be others in the hut. Sharing may be required.

That annual DOC hut pass comes in useful, and time is running out on mine.

For once there was no need in lugging my standard two weeks’ food and a tent, this was going to be a quick in and out. Two nights. But my pack wasn’t feeling much lighter, despite the lack of huge quantities of food.

I had contemplated a couple of overnights to document some popular huts around Nelson for my website. Balloon Hut or Lake Sylvester came immediately to mind.

But I was also thinking of the Wakamarina Track that starts up the, err, Wakamarina Valley. You turn off at the Trout Hotel at Canvastown, halfway between Pelorus Bridge and Havelock.

I’d never been up there, why not?

I didn’t finish my work until 5 pm on Saturday, so thought an early morning Sunday start would be the way to go.

I was going to have an early Labour long weekend.

It did not turn out particularly relaxing.

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

Day 1 | Fosters Hut, up at 1150 m

Mt Royal, centre, and Mt Fishtail from the valley floor. | Wakamarina Track, Mt Richmond Forest Park

I should sleep well, I’ve climbed more than 1500 m for the day.

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

Day 2 | Devils Hut via the ridgetops

View along the ridge from Mt Baldy. Mt Royal is in front of Mt Fishtail, right, and a bare looking Mt Richmond

My body is no longer as enthusiastic as my brain.

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

Day 3 | mooching around, then back in Nelson

Huge red beech trees with some crown fern understory. Wakamarina Track, Mt Richmond Forest Park

It’s taken my entire lifetime to get up the Wakamarina Valley, I’m not about to hurry out.