Last night at Careys Hut I startled a girl who arrived with a full boatload of daytrippers, must’ve been 15 in all, who zipped up to have a look. I hadn’t realised I looked such a frightening figure, then again I was dressed in black with my hoody up in a semi-dark hut.

I offer them all dinner as they crowd in the hut, I was cooking mine.

You can sense a few of them thinking that this was not a level of luxury style accommodation that they would be prepared to accept.

They in turn offer to grab a few steaks from a cow seen floating in the middle of the lake.

Thanks but I’m a vegetarian, at least in these circumstances.

More snow on the hills this morning, up above 1000m, but at least there’s some blue sky, a drop in temperature and I’m finding my thread bare woollen T-shirt is insufficient or when damp and stationary out on the track, which is plenty at the time.

Another biggish day planned, I’m hut hopping, in my case biggish is defined as over 20 km, but today, due to the ease of the terrain it turns out to be another 32km. It ain’t so far to civilisation at Queenstown and after a couple of weeks of walking since Invercargill I’m kinda looking forward to some fresh food and a shower.

The Mavora Walkway was set up back in the 1970s as one part of the early incarnation of Te Araroa, two new huts provided, Boundary and Taipo, at the same time as the St James Walkway further north.

4WDs can get to the Boundary Hut, there’s a much smashed up track in places, and there is evidence of much 4WD type activities near the hut, random driving, over steep slopes, somehow I don’t think this should be allowed on this particular track. Last year persons unknown spent some time wrecking Boundary Hut, fence pulled out, verandah burned, mattresses stolen, the long drop was shot multiple times. DOC has now repaired all the damage, except for the toilet ventilation addition. Both Boundary and Taipo are decent places to spend the night except that neither has a firebox, being tussock country there’s no wood in the vicinity.

The Mavora is basically along a big open valley, views to mountains all around, at times traversing tussock, knee-high shrubbery, or swampy bits, the rain in recent times has dampened the track.

No dampening enthusiasm though, the major encouragement for onward motion was the lack of even a small dry and level spot to whack up my tent, I plodded on for the longest day so far, and possibly the entire trip, not in distance but in time.

As I arrived at Greenstone Hut I found myself walking in parallel with another lumping a big pack on the track in from the roadend.

GJ?

Hunh?

That face looked vaguely familiar, a guy Paul who I had met when I was heading towards Mt Richmond. At that time he had just began the South Island part of TA. In the last seven weeks he has made it down here, but has now decided to abandon the track and was off to walk the Caples to get to the Hollyford Track. I confess I needed to be reminded as to where we had met, on the track from Rocks Hut to Pelorus, I had encouraged him not to skip the Richmond Ranges.

Man, it was as if we were old friends from childhood, that’s the way it is with us TAers.

With the hut nearing capacity I decided to throw the tent up, I prefer my own little kingdom to the close companionship of strangers en masse.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Greenstone Hut

The hut is a fairly compact structure.  | Greenstone Hut, Greenstone Track
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