OK, enough sitting around, time to move onto the next hut.
It’s cloudy morning but warm. At 6 30 am it’s barely light, but just to practice I get up and pack up.
The muesli is a change from the porridge I’ve been eating for breakfast over the last few years. There’s three benefits: it’s quicker to prepare and eat; it uses no fuel to cook; oh, and I actually enjoy eating it. The muesli has 100 different grains in it, I threw three different products in a big bowl and portioned it out with each breakfast in their own ziplock bag, so I know how many more days of food I have.
There was a big, and welcome, surprise when I left the hut: the track was fully benched, ie, for most of the way you could ride a mountain bike. Well, that’s probably an exaggeration but it sure was easy walking for a change, a constant slope that wound in and out of the little valleys and around ridges.
Later I was informed that it was a 1800s pack track for the gold miners over near the Crow River.
I heard some kaka but neither heard or saw any of the whio/blue ducks that are supposed to be in Kiwi Creek.
The junction with the Wangapeka Track seemed to come quickly, I must have been feeling refreshed after my day off. I thought I’d go and see where the old Kiwi Shelter marked on my ancient map used to be located. I needed to cross the Wangapeka on the swing bridge, but other than a few little objects, a 44 gallon drum, some rusty kerosene tins, and tins and glass jars in general there was no sign of it.
Then it was just 30 minutes up a beautifully trimmed track to Kings Creek Hut where I abandoned my pack for a look around. There was a steep track down to the extraordinary gorgeous Wangapeka River, It was clear, but where the pools were deep it had that bottle green colour.
Then I went to 5 minutes up the track to the older, 1935, Cecil King Hut, a rustic slab hut built from a single fallen red beech tree according to legend. It had been semi-restored, entirely liveable but despite the lack of character of the later and much larger Kings Creek Hut just down the track it does possess one feature that Cecil lacks, adequate daylight, so I didn’t shift my gear on down.
There is a fair amount of ground turned over in the quest for gold by Cecil. He lived from 1902 to 1982, and spent much of the Depression panning here for gold, and then most summers until he died. There’s still heaps of rocks around the hut in typical New Zealand gold mining fashion. At one stage he was one of 150 other gold miners, but he was the one who stayed on.
I’m having another easy day tomorrow, just up to Stone Hut.
Still overcast but brighter, not much rain around.
It’s the day after when I’m rambling along the tops when I would prefer if it had cleared up.