Magnificent. My charmed tramping life continues.

Yesterday had the heavy rain at night, 150mm, and then only the all day drizzle to produce those numerous waterfalls.

Today started mysterioso but cleared somewhat on MacKinnon pass. Then some memorable images: a rainbow, the huge view down to Quintin Lodge, with full service, showers and dry clothes incorporated in the cost, and up the valley towards the Sutherland Falls. Plenty of patchy mist around, and the sharp pillar of Mt Balloon popping out from time to time.

Then at the Sutherland Falls full dramatic sunshine for a while, and a shower just after hut arrival.

What more could you ask for?

There’s seven DOC rangers in residence at Dumpling, finishing the pre-season tidy, windfalls dealt with, firewood cut, cobwebs removed, etc.

One tells of a group of three, on the boat with us but who had rushed ahead, nationality known but not specified here, on being confronted about hut tickets the previous evening, a big $15 each, they had decamped pronto despite being that monstrously wet day, whereabouts unknown. With the flooding there are no known camping spots in close or even distant proximity that offer shelter. The plight of the stricken campers does not raise any sympathy from anyone present despite us generally being a compassionate lot.

Well, there are the people you travel with and I couldn’t ask for a better bunch. I’ve abandoned Bob to walk with the two German gals, actually I never heard them speak German, they don’t associate with the other for German speakers, and English is even used there. They walk at the same pace as my old legs and don’t mind me disappearing off the rear of the file to take a few photos, usually I can catch up. But mainly they have enthusiasm and appreciation that they are in a fabulously special place.

They couldn’t be more different from each other, one a delicate petal with a feel for the ascetics, I tease her about her obsession with old man’s beard dripping from much of the vegetation, Oh, you must be looking for a man with a decent beard, her sly slow smile emerges, radiant, lighting up my life. The other gal, working in international shipping, more robust, no nonsense, taking 100 photos a day, permanent grin afixed. Nice to travel with two happy people.

There’s also a cheery Irish couple in our loose confederation, good for a laugh, having English as native language helps. They also are happy types, happy with themselves, each other particularly, good to see a couple enjoying each other’s company and having respect for their partner.

And then there’s the Bobster, abandoned, but happy none the less, enjoying the track on his eighth trip. He’s another happy specimen.

Then again, how could you not be in amongst such magnificence?

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