I woke up a couple of times thinking it was raining but it was just the Sandflys hitting my tent. For some reason I thought they were not active at night but these ones were. The wind really picked up during the night as well.
My morning routine was a little slower as I was trying to do everything from inside my tent as I could see a cloud of Sandflys waiting ready to pounce the minute I left the safety of my tent. Once I had finished as much as I could I ventured out and put repellent on for the first time since the Wanganui River. I walked a long way off to go to the toilet as I didn't fancy being bitten in my more sensitive places.
I was on the trail at 0740 and in a good mood. For some reason as I left I got "I'm off to see the wizard" in my head but luckily after a few repetitions of the two lines I know it went away.
Today I was not inspired. The track was very easy, largely flat and the scenery nice but after being spoilt with fantastic scenery recently I couldn't get excited. What did stand out today was the flowers. As I was walking through grassy meadows for most of the day I noticed the profusion of flowers. There were a couple of parts in the beech trees but they were short and infrequent.
After 6 km the track joined a vehicle track and stayed on this for the next 18 km which didn't help my excitement levels. I did pass the 2000 km mark which was exciting. I am now 2/3 of the way through but it is a little sad that I only have 1000 km to go. The last 1000 km went so quickly.
Three DOC vehicle's passed on the track all off to do maintenance on the new St James Cycleway.
After joining the St James Walkway the track crossed on the most rickety swingbridge I have seen and then along a cliff that had wire ropes to hang onto despite being a nice wide path, relative to what I have been on recently. After 10 minutes of single track it was back onto vehicle track to Anne Hut. I could see the rain coming down the valley and was rushing to reach the hut before it arrived and I made it. There was one person there but they didn't say anything even after I greeted them. I had lunch, filled in the Hut Book and was on my way at 1400. The sign said it was 6-8 hours to the next Hut but I was pretty sure I could do it in much less so I decided to push on for the hut. The sign also said it was 18 km but my map said 15 km which was better. 5 minutes from the Hut it started raining so my rain jacket and skirt went on for the first time in the South Island.
I started enjoying myself more now. The track was single track in great condition. It was largely in open meadows with small patches of bush. The track went up a valley and over Anne Saddle. This was the easiest saddle I have ever climbed that wasn't on a horse. I didn't even have time to start puffing or sweating it was so short.
Now it was more of the same but going downhill gently. After an hour from the saddle I reached Rockerby Hut which was very basic and no mattresses. I think I would rather stay in my tent than in that hut.
I carried on and the rain got heavier but it wasn't much further until I was crossing the Swingbridge and arriving at Boyd River Hut. It took me 4 hours 20 minutes from Anne Hut. I stripped off my rain gear and was completely dry except the bottom of my shorts where the long grass had come up under my rain skirt. The hut was toasty as someone had lit the fire. Fred and Nev were there with Rachel who has done the north island in one go and is now section hiking TA south island to Arthurs Pass. There were also two ladies who kept to themselves. I made dinner then we read and talked until 2100. By this time one of the ladies was snoring but by the time I finished updating my blog she stopped so I managed to get to sleep before she started again.