Showers, light rain even, but I’m thinking that with the ground so dry, the landscape will soak up a lot of water and there will be little run off until proper, dense, New Zealand style, heavy rain comes down.

But it was just on-again, off-again, mostly off, all day.

Not such a hard day despite the number of huts encountered, three, just slowly walking up this Poulter River valley. The valley is wide, the river, well, I didn’t see that until I came to cross it and then it wasn’t there, another dry riverbed, just march straight across.

The main memorable view was initially of the fluorescent green moss under the mountain beech forest, lustrous in the wet, then when finally bursting out of the forest onto a lovely grassed track made by various DOC quad bikes over the years was the, err, Poulter Range, on the other side of the valley, becoming quite dramatic as you get up towards the deep cut of Ranger Stream and Thompson Stream with the mountains, now the Snow Cup Range more directly ahead.

The first of the day’s huts was just as the river turned west, the old Trust/Poulter Hut, an old NZFS six bunker, complete with decent open fireplace, reasonably original condition except for some clear sheets inserted into the roof to give additional light. I’d be happy staying but it’s only an hour on to the newish Poulter Hut, big windows, double glazing, insulation, and a full wood store complete with sharp axe. How often do you get that?

I dumped my pack at the Poulter, that’s the second hut, it can be confusing when two huts have similar names and are congregated close together, and keep going up the river, suddenly there was an actual river, with water, to the small A framed Worsley Biv, complete with a hut book that went back to 1988. You can keep on going for another couple of hours to get to the Poulter Valley Bivvy but I’ve got other places to be.

I’d be happy pottering around if the days were longer and the weather was what it had been but frankly, there are few better spots to spend a night then this cozy Poulter Hut. Specially now the rain is in fact coming down in the heaviest manner I’ve seen for a while, the temperature has dropped 5°C, my headlight is on, I’m drinking tomato instant soup while I wait for the spag to cook on the firebox, which is radiating general warmth and goodwill.

There’s another four night’s food in the pack, without getting on rations and really only two nights either way whether I pop over Minchin Pass or go back.

Life is full of options and I’m happy as up here.

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