Man, Andrews Shelter doesn’t have the most comfortable bed you’ve ever laid on, six narrow slats with big gaps between. I plonk all my wet clothes down, gaiters, over-trou, the two woollen tops in a vest, all totally wet, so the pack liner comes out, they are mighty long, and the sleeping bag goes on top, almost like home. When you are dog tired do you even notice, much?

Somehow I’ve become used to these types of accommodations, best approach is not to dwell excessively, just drop off to sleep.

If you need perfection for your holidays perhaps tramping is not the way to go. There is a level of toil required lugging your, err, luggage. The weather can be totally unpredictable, I mean who would have guessed there would be snow down to this low level after such a mild winter generally. You can wander for successive days with your feet wet, coming down from Minchin there was regular rinsings of the footwear, no way around it without crashing through impenetrable scrub. Then, I guess the boots could’ve come off for the final knee-deep crossing within sight of Casey Hut but there was little point, the fire would dry the inner soles and socks, the boots lose most moisture content. Unfortunately one boot has developed a split in the top where water pours in, the side of the boot threatening to rip off, a new pair is on the New Equipment Required List once I make it to Christchurch.

The huts generally are reasonable enough accommodation as long as you have no objection to a general low level of cleanliness, or to long drop toilets which can be the whole olfactory experience.

But of course you can deal with some hard work and discomfort, there must be some reason to be doing this, the thrill of being out here, not quite knowing what is gonna happen next, self-reliant, in a big way, no cares or worries of that everyday world left entirely behind.

The morning, well, surprises abound, nary a cloud in the sky, a frosty ground, time for the last of my rations and the plod off down what’s termed Mt White Road, Mt White I can understand, the road bit might be excessive, all these glorious mountains with quite the snow topping arrayed around. Dead ahead Bealey Spur and just to the left a particularly snowy Lagoon Saddle.

As I move out into the valley I can look back to Binser Saddle clearly discernible and looking, err, tame, and round a bit the valley leading up to Casey Saddle.

As I near Mt White bridge, some of the pools on the way have an icy crust, there’s Sudden Valley and the Hawden Valley. Plenty to reminisce about if I was that way inclined, all that snow at the Cass Valley, it’s two weeks on from my drop off and this trip would’ve been an entirely different proposition if I started with this amount of snow.

The highway is quiet, dead quiet, the sign says 137km to Christchurch.

The sun is out in a big way.

No worries, no worries at all.

← Day 14 | Andrews Shelter once more