It was a peaceful night as my anti mouse tactics worked and the mice had nothing left to make noise. I was excited at the thought of getting to St Arnaud this afternoon but also a little sad that this fantastic part of the walk was nearly over.
Just after the hut on to of a small hill was the 1900 km mark so I took a photo and then was on my way.
The trail went up and down a bit, though not as big a climbs as yesterday, until reaching the Maitland Creek and then it sidled above the river heading down and up again as streams joined from the side. The track was generally ok and I was even able to stretch out in a couple of bits. On one side of the river was nearly normal bush but on my side it was the desert like vegetation. luckily the sun was at my back so it wasnt too hot but I was still wetting my hat at every stream to keep my temperature down. in all the river crossings I had kept my feet dry but near the top there was a swampy atea that was impossible to jump across so I not only had very feet wet but muddy too so the next stream I washed them.
Eventually the track came to the top of the Creek and I refilled my water thinking you couldn't get much closer to the source. As I came over the rise the hut was in sight over a tussock field.
After filling in the hut book I was on my way down a vehicle track all the way down to the valley floor. When I started hearing sheep I knew I was near the bottom. At some derelict buildings the track became a trail through some bush to the road and then only 10 km to the bright lights of St Arnaud.
I was 2 days early for my accommodation booking and the backpackers was full so I was forced into the luxury of a standard motel room which I wasn't really that upset about. The upside was I was here on a Sunday for the famous all you can eat BBQ.
I settled into my room, had a shower and put my clothes and sleeping bag liner into the laundry. On my way back I spotted two ladies who looked like trampers. This was Isobel and Moi who did Te Araroa North Island last uear and were doing the South Island this year. Unfortunately Moi had hurt her knee so they were unsure what to do. While deciding they were going to walk round Lake Rotoiti.
At dinner I sat with them and I devoured two full playes of delicious food. On my way back with the second serving I ran into one of the guys I had met in the Richmond Ranges but when I went to where they were sitting after dinner they were gone. The waitress then twisted my arm (asked if I wanted to see the desert menu) so I had two scoops of ice cream and a fruit salad.
I then sorted through my photos and went to sleep.