Six bodies in occupation at Rakeahua Hut and despite having not shared their companionship much last night I joined them to scoff my brekkie, away from the persistencies of the local insect life.

No enormous hurry, I chat about various matters tramping with one of the kayakers for a long while and eventually the porridge bowl is empty and I see it’s time to leave: 9 25am. The forecast has been for a deluge, no way I think, I’m a real Pollyanna when it comes to weather, but while I been inside the hut there had been a short shower. I had my tent packed away by then.

It was a shock to see a sign stating Doughboy 7—8 hours, but, I guess there’s plenty of light at this time of the year and occasional drizzle to keep forward motion a good option, not much point in stopping.

Oh, there were two species of tiny flowering orchids to inspect along the way, otherwise it was trudging on despite my third successive big day.

It’s Day 11, my pack weight is lessening so I managed to power straight up the hills, you have to get to 400m, and the top is starting to get to be entirely root hopping, lots of potential bog. Somehow I manage to avoid all the major, deep, perils. As the open scrub at the top is reached the clouds closed in, I’m in those clouds, no view over to the Tin Range where I was wandering so recently, the drop to the beach is exactly that, well almost, straight down, elevation lost in a hurry, unpleasant walking for me.

There’s a lookout halfway down, gee, it’s still a long way, but the last part is down along a ridge in big tree forest, much easier negotiating that than down the root bound creek of higher up.

The two previous times I’ve been here I had had the hut occupation to myself, today I can already count nine packs stacked outside on the verandah, it’s an eight bunker, and then there’s me and at least two more on their way. There are two tents already pitched on the sand, I choose another spot closer to the hut under a giant broadleaf, perhaps slightly too close to the toilet, but what do I care. It’s still drizzling so I quickly cook up a feed and, completely antisocial considering it’s New Year’s Eve, jump into my tent.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Doughboy Bay Hut

Doughboy Bay Hut, Southern Circuit, Stewart Island
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