I knew it was on the agenda and was just hoping it would develop as predicted: showers today, very heavy rain tonight, rain tomorrow, and all cleared up by the day after when I was intending to walk out to the end of the track and hitch to Westport.
Yeah, it would be great if it was all over by the time I made it to the road.
I awoke in the middle of the night to some plastic rustling, donned my headlamp and jumped up to save my food from mice. Staring at me through a window, and gnawing on a plastic bag outside was a decent sized rat, unconcerned about being put in the spotlight.
At least that meant the hut was rat proof, I had left some food lying on the bench.
The drizzle stopped just prior to leaving Goat Creek and only started again once I had made it to Mokihinui Forks Hut.
I didn’t hurry, as usual, just sat in the forest now and again, more birdlife with the rain, more kererū/wood pigeons, flapping noisily at great pace through the canopy, a few kākāriki/parakeets heard, lots of tuis, fantail’s, robins, and, enough wekas. The wekas seemed to pop out of the crown fern every second time I stopped.
Most of the walk was along old river terraces, usually some distance removed from the actual river.
The day’s two highlights: a giant Powelliphanta carnivorous snail, alive, stalking its prey at a very slow rate; and, a huge spring, that popped out of a hole in the ground and turned into a major flowing stream.
I spoke to a solitary bike rider, down from Ghost Lake. He said it was fair blowing up there, poor visibility, rain and a group of five bike riders were debating the merits and the merits of continuing on.
Later they went on by, I was already inside the hut and it was more than drizzling, they looked a poorly equipped, bedraggled lot, some didn’t have wet weather gear. They didn’t come in.
The hut is great, lots of light and a view over an extensive area of grassland. Originally one of the commonly seen New Zealand Forest Services SF 70, six bunker type huts, it has recently been enlarged and renovated. It’s a goody, although it was the subject of controversy when a large kahikatea tree adjacent to the hut was removed in the renovation process. That explains an enormous load of wood in the firewood shed.
I became engrossed in a book as the rain hammered in. At one point I turned around from my seat and the river had become a brown raging torrent. When I put my glasses back on I realised that it was just the granite sand in the riverbed, the river actually looked unchanged, just trickling along.
I’m not too worried by rain tonight or tomorrow, the track looks reasonably flood-proof, with bridges over the streams.
I just want Friday to be clear.