No urgency this morning, if you are jumping huts it’s a mighty big day, well, for this ageing body, so no that’s not on the agenda, I’m saving my energy for tomorrow and the Demon Trail.

Today dawned without a cloud in the sky, that’s a better start, a big view to Mount Tutoko, down the lake, and round to the series of points past the south end of Martins Bay Beach, that has to be 7 km long, the early morning sunlight picking out the white foam on the still crashing Southern Ocean surf.

The biggest surprise, it’s calm, haven’t had that for a long while. Not a surprise at all, there are some seal pups playing around just in front of the hut on the incoming tide, big wave surges battling the massive river flow.

It’s after 10 before I shove the last of my stuff in my pack, so much easier now three quarters of the food has disappeared.

45 minutes from the hut I run into another tramper, Dave, who has made his way from the hut where I’ll be tonight, he’s off to Big Bay tomorrow and back by the Pyke. We exchange notes for half an hour, clearly recognising some similarities, ie, a love of Stewart Island, and even the Pyke at this time of year.

Somehow I’m distracted today, I hit down to look at the commercial Martin’s Bay launch and have my lunch at the water’s edge, looking over the yellow flowering kowhai along the river edge and big kahikatea trees in the forest across the Hollyford, it’s quite the massive river here, deep, wide and flowing swiftly.

Sun still out.

Then it’s a traipse through some bush before popping out on the edge of Lake McKerrow and a band of more kowhais. Up close you can see plenty of tuis, the big boss here, chasing the bellbirds and intimidating the native pigeons that lurk nearby.

There’s some gravel kilometres around the end of the lake until you get to Jamestown, a settlement that lasted about as long as your average gold rush, Ie, a couple of years, but in this case gold wasn’t a consideration. 1870 and a few people lingered on for a while but the fact for the first five ships didn’t survive crossing the bar at the mouth of the river, some rocks not apparent, fail to enthuse others to restock the settlement. Life must have been tough beyond our comprehension, the first settlers lost all their personal possessions when the ship went down, and the climate here is dismal at times, particularly if you live in a tent, hacking at the bush.

There’s a stone marker commemorating the surveyor up in the regrowth, how would you otherwise know of this particular folly, nothing else is left except for some broken bottles which may or may not be old.

Some have described the Hokuri Hut as picturesque, I kind of like the Hidden Falls-like design that DOC is building, two big sleeping platform at one end freeing up space and the big windows down the other near the table, but the pig fern covered clearing exhibits a somewhat dismal scene to me in the drizzle. Maybe I’ve been out here too long, I thought of a long shower for the first time in a while today. The pog and spag diet, that’s porridge and spaghetti, might be starting to get to me after 11 nights. I have no problem with the solitude.

Perhaps two more nights and this Little Adventure will be done.

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