I’ve found I like to listen to the 6am news on my radio and the short weather forecast.

For some reason, maybe it’s Sunday, I sleep in for 20 minutes, it’s 6º inside the hut so not that bad, well, until those wet clothes go back on, but this morning, thanks to that fire everything is mostly dry.

There’s mist in the valley veiling the hilltops, my hunch that it will burn off proves well founded.

Much of today is spent in the uphill direction, an 800m climb, and it’s not until the top that there’s much of a view. By then the clouds were starting to roll back in, in fact I’m in the middle of cloud formation, my beenie on, raincoat zipped up. I sit for a while up at Mole Saddle peering down into Bull Creek, been there, done that three times and maybe never again now the track has not been maintained for 20 years and isn’t mentioned on recent maps.

From the saddle’s the first glimpse of the Mahanga Range, can’t see Lake Rotoroa, I’m at the level of the Mt Misery Hut, should go up there one day, it’s right above where the two big rivers, D’Urville and Sabine flow into the lake and must have some substantial view.

For some reason I’ve never been to the cute and recently refurbished Mole Hut, not a bad spot to sit on the bench seat writing this diary and looking down the tight valley.

I’ve been modulating my walking time to take into account of how far I’ve got to go, I just love sitting still in the forest, making friends with the inevitable NZ Robin, or a fantail.

I’ve had two relatively short days, if climbing 800m is short.

Tomorrow the work kicks in, it’s down to the valley floor then up the Mataki, pretty flat really, to Downie Hut. It’s the distance, dunno how far but over 25km I think, that make it a beefy day.

With the 14 day time frame, may be a day or two less, I must admit I’m on a restricted diet: porridge and coffee for breakfast; some dates counted out for morning tea; a cube of cheese, another of high density fruit cake, I found some at a bakers in Nelson, you find it in any supermarket or country store in Australia, but this Nelson stuff is the most bullet-proof; for dinner an entree of a packet of soup, then I cook up a ⅓rd of a box of Barilla spaghetti as the main. The technique is snap the sticks in half, boil it a couple of minutes then turn the stove off and whack the lid on for ten minutes. Comes out OK, even almost edible with the pizza sauce and parmesan cheese spread around.

I started cooking at 4 30, too hungry to wait longer but tonight I had a special treat, an extra course of cous cous. I’ve brought three more nights of that bird food and also three nights of boil-in-a-bag rice with some dehydrated mushrooms.

That’s it.

Nothing more.

Bland and austere in the extreme but I guess I can survive all right for 13 nights.

The hut is now deeply in the clouds, misty rain outside, it’s 5 45pm, getting dark real quick and I’m ready to jump into my sleeping bag and get cosy.

It’s 1160m, I think it might get cold tonight.

Good night.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Mole Hut

Mole Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park
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