When it’s only a couple of hours out to the trail end there are two choices.

Pack up quickly and skedaddle for home.

Or, the opposite.

It’s taken my entire lifetime to get up the Wakamarina Valley, I’m not about to hurry out. With so many alternative places around Nelson I may well never come back. Better soak it up.

Instead, I meander about the hut taking some photos and decide to amble down to the river. I can hear it, but not see it. There’s a reason for that, it’s a substantial drop to the actual running water part. The track is fully benched, although at the bottom there’s a couple of beech trees that have dropped prostrate across the track, not at all horizontal due to the considerable slope, and some scrambling is required.

The Wakamarina River is surprisingly large but then it is draining the east side of Mt Fishtail and much of the landscape between. It’s a decent catchment and clear that on occasions the river must thunder through the gorge. The rocks are dinner plate schist style and I find some care is needed when hopping on stray rocks in the river to take a few photos.

Then I head up to the old miners’ Stone Hut where the stone aspect is more descriptive than the hut bit. Back in The Depression days there were a staunch crew of about 150 on the river, and a number must have preferred the obscurity and solitude of being as far up the river as beyond sensible. It must have been a grim existence. There are some half height stone walls remaining but the timber roofing is no longer extant.

The path is gorgeous, that’s both beautiful and high above the river gorge, cut deep into the slope, ferns in profusion. There was a river crossing involved but with little rain in the last few days it was easy enough to skip across. There must be times of extreme torrent which would have added to their sense of isolation.

Back then there was just dreams of a dry and comfortable bed at the end of the day’s efforts.

All I had to do was stroll out.

← Day 2 | Devils Hut via the ridgetops