A day for marching, a solid day of progress, getting a few k under the belt was what it was about.

The last two days have not been a time of stretching my legs, too many obstacles, tussock, crown fern, ups and downs, so today was that opportunity.

Not much fun pulling on the wet socks and T-shirt, and outside the wind chill factor was up, that wind hasn’t let up for days.

But it was a gravel road that confronted me, and an hour later I was crossing that Te Anau highway, a lot of traffic around in the midst of the summer holidays. I didn’t linger and moved on down the easy path to the river. Then there was 2 km of less easy path, waist high grass, wet, adjacent to a full height deer fence. A few minor deep creeks to cross, me attached to the deer fence to avoid wet feet in places, it was an interlude described by my term Moderate Effort.

I intended to avoid further grass bashing by taking to the Mavora Lakes Road as many do, and looked across, there was another pack wielder wandering easily along.

In the end, despite an easing of the conditions with the brass, sheep had been assisting with making progress on the track easier, it seemed the deer fencing would never end so I climbed over, through some knee deep water, out the gate and voilà, there was Ingo.

That was some coincidence, Ingo had stayed at Winchester the night before me, then hitched into Te Anau for some additional food supplies and after a hearty pancake breakfast today had hitched back to the start of the road. So someone to chat to as we thrashed out almost 30km to the hut. Okay, so I’m admitting to avoiding more of the grass bashing, but, you can have too much of a good thing on one day.

Despite the weather forecast predicting a sunny day by lunchtime, it started raining and continued for the next five hours as we made tracks up the road. At least I had someone to talk to to ease the monotony.

We jumped back to the track for the last 2km along the river bank, managing to get diverted into a swamp to pre-wet the feet before the long river crossing in the didymo infested water, that’s a horrible snot weed which seems to be taking over many New Zealand rivers.

The major crossing was in the end not any issue, less than knee deep, and then we were racing up to the hut.

There might have been ten people in occupation last night but for us it was simply two, a bedroom each. Soon the fire was lit to dry us out and warm up.

The race to the hut seemed not such a bad option with the weather fairly inclement outside.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Kiwi Burn Hut

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