This morning the typical, famous, Nelson cooler weather day: not a cloud, no wind, glorious.

Shouldn’t I have had these conditions when it mattered up on those tops?

Not really, as in life in general you take what is dished up, might as well accept, relish, what you get, when you get it. No point in dreaming what might have been.

Actually, since the cool morning of the Upper Travers it’s been three days perfect.

I’m taking a week’s rest and recovery here in Nelson, the body is surprisingly A OK but there’s some washing to be achieved, body, tick, and all the garments impending, this weather will assist in the drying.

So, that was two weeks in the bush, the one rest day at Bob’s Hut, again perfect weather, although a few of the days weren’t so onerous, ie, D’Urville to Tiraumea, Bob’s to East M, the trundle down from Blue Lake to West Sabine.

But between that there have been some big climbs: the 1000m Moss Pass and Travers Saddle, the 800m Tiraumea to Mole Saddle, and again David Saddle. It didn’t seem the upwards progression was an issue, just engage the climbing engine, the tough part for me gotta be the drop down.

Then, a couple of long hauls in longish valleys: up, Mole to Downie, or down, Upper Travers to Lakehead.

Favourite huts: Mole and Upper D’Urville Bivvies, the tiny ones, more in keeping with your average solitary backcountry traveller although Bob’s, an original SF 70 NZFS hut, complete with it’s smoky open fireplace and decent fuel supply, has to rate a mention. The Travers/Sabine barns, well, OK on your lonesome rattling around but to me not so pleasant if they were packed.

Highlights: the first 100m of the trip in the fog, or was it low cloud, in the red beech forest just past the Mt Robert carpark; those two fun three wire bridges at the Mataki Forks, although not quite as fun as the two wire bridge that one replaces; climbing David Saddle and finding the immense white void on the other side, like, where’s the track; Blue Lake revealing itself through the cloud on the descent from Moss Pass; the pair of Blue ducks on the extraordinarily blue Blue Lake, any wonder I call my new business venture bluelake ; the whiteout conditions on Travers Saddle; and these mountains with a first winter sprinkling of snow.

But it’s the small things as well: the small fast flowing pools on the upper Mataki, clear and blue; that huge trout hovering like a troll beneath the lower bridge over the Sabine River; various encounters with NZ Robins; the little used track over Pretty Bridge cut through the club moss forest and sphagnum; the frost on the windows of Bob’s Hut; any number of things that make the South Island tramping experience so rewarding.

And the two weeks meandering around not quite aimlessly, the destination not so important?

Just perfect.

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