Woke at 2am to rain, sounded ominous.

Still going when I jumped up at my usual time, 6 15, and lasted until right on 12.

We had periodic inspections of Maling Stream but man it was dark grey and flowing fiercely. I wandered downstream and heard the odd boulder rolling, it went from three channels yesterday to all joining together in a solid raging flood, with a few extra side streams carrying overflow.

No way of getting across that.

Just for a comparison I went up the main west branch to where I had crossed on my way from 3 Tarns Saddle and that was unrecognisable. Thunder grey and churning in a big way, almost to the top of the bank.

The boys, running out of food and having a big stash back at Downeys, five hours downstream, are keen to get back for a good feed, maybe to get away from me and at 3pm announce they will give the creek a go at 4. It’s way down but still looks nasty, maybe because of the colour and the ripples, but it turns out to be not so much above the knee, it’s the major thumbs up and they are off, might have to do the last hour and a half crashing along in the dark.

I’m not in much hurry to get to the East Mataki Hut, only three hours away, I’ve still got an extra two days of food if I take it easy, or more if I charge on down towards St Arnaud. Unless there is another big night of rain I should get over to the nearby hut okay tomorrow.

It’s climbing David Saddle where I really prefer the weather to be nicely settled. Surprisingly there’s been good views of the hills despite the rain, at least at times, even occasional blue sky popping through.

It’s a lesson in the speedy ups and downs of the rivers in New Zealand, this morning was certain drowning, a few hours after the rain had stopped, not much of a problem.

Suddenly it’s all quiet and I’m thinking I might have an early-ish night, for a change. I’ve been on the go, except for a few days here and there, for more than two months and this sitting around doing not much is a welcome break, my smashed up feet are enjoying day long dry conditions for the first time since forever.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Bobs Hut

Bobs Hut under Mt Maling, 2127m, in Nelson Lakes National Park
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