I’m thinking optimistically, no major resolutions, at least that I’m publically revealing, but I sense that after this next two months’ summer tramping season things might slow down, other things to do. Or maybe more standard issue tramping trips, five days max.
I’m sticking around Doughboy for a big three nights, this is tramping Paradise. Plenty to occupy yourself here: scoot down the sandy beach, tick, a rocky headland wander around, tick, but the lunchtime high tide does limit activities due to a creek crossing requirement to access both directions.
Instead I sit in the hut, drinking coffee, having a chat, actually not such a bad option.
There’s been 16 stationed here last night, 17 the night before, it’s somewhat chaotic even if many are still in tents, it’s been a big night, of a small kind, I could hear shouting, laughing and singing as the night progressed towards New Year’s, it’s a slow start this morning for some.
One party left at 7am, the last, well, it was after 10 30 and the route to Rakeahua had taken me seven hours yesterday. Was talk of camping somewhere along the way, because of a glacially moving friend on his first trip. The rather gnarly Southern Circuit is not the one you would usually pick for your tramping initiation.
A well tuckered up couple came over from Rakeahua and also had a rest day, some determination to see a kiwi here. You talk as usual in remote huts about lives and futures and pasts, a chance for perspective to be taken, positions and context to be made, these chance meetings seem to become somewhat reflective even if it’s just talk, explanations given.
In the afternoon I was more energetic, wandering to the end of the beach, maybe a couple of kilometres each way, down there not at all wind protected, sandblaster territory, but was interesting, two types of dotterels, the Southern variety, darting in spurts down the beach alongside me, and also the smaller double barred species.
At the end of the beach is a hole in a large rock that you could drive a bus through, well, you have to build a difficult road to get it here and Stewart Island has a total of 12 km of roads, all concentrated around Halfmoon Bay. Then, the full length of the beach later, out on the promontory, the waves are hurtling on past. I spot a sea lion wrestling with a large chunk of meat, tearing chunks off, thrashing from side to side vigorously.
And now a new contingent in residence in the hut, there’s only six of us tonight and half in tents.
It’s been quite the relaxing day off.