In the night the mice were incredibly noisy and it sounded like there were a few of them. One even tried getting into my sleeping bag which was a bit rude given it hadn't even brought me dinner before trying to get into my bed.
I had drunk too much again so had to get up in the middle of the night and there were no stars which was ominous.
My alarm went off at 0630 and I could hear the rain and did not want to get up and judging by the lack of movement nor did anyone else. After a leisurely morning routine I donned my rain gear and ventured out of the shelter at 0740.
The track was in much better condition than I was expecting for the first 45 minutes through bush and some open bits. It was raining steadily but not too hard and it was fantastic in the bush with the green very vivid and everything glistening. There was a lot of birds and I had a fantail and several Robins keep me company.
I have had a sore stomach for the last two days but it hasn't been too bad and I only noticed it occasionally. Today it was much worse and I was conscious of it all the time. It feels like indigestion and my stomach feels bloated. I am not sure what has caused it as there is nothing new in my diet. As my energy levels are fine I will just ignore it and hope it goes away.
I reached Cameron Hut and was glad I hadn't pushed on as it was a small dark 4 bunk hut with no mattresses. Jory was in the hut. He is doing TA trying to be living off the trail using Maori techniques and barefoot where possible. After a brief chat and look at his pack I filled in the Hut Book and pushed on.
The descent was much steeper and longer than the climb up. It was largely gravel and rocks. As everything was wet and slippery I took my time coming down and managed without incident.
Once back onto the flat the track was largely in the open which was not a great place to be when it is raining. I was still dry but when the wind picked up I started to get cold. Luckily it died down after 15 minutes and the sun tried really hard to make an appearance before giving up. The track makers were very sparce and it was a lot of guessing where the track went. There was no way to get lost as I was going down a large valley but the track was easier to walk on except for the many rocky patches.
When I got to a sandy bit I decided to have some fun and wrote a message for the guys following. I wrote "I am off to see the wizard. You are welcome". This was so Fred would get this song stuck in his head again and I knew he would be swearing at me when he saw it rather than thanking me hence saying he was welcome. Another few km on I wrote a reinforcement "wizard" just in case he had managed to stop thinking about the song. After I camped after coming down from Wairau Pass I got this song in my head as I started in the morning. I mentioned this that night and the next day Fred had the song stuck in his head.
The hut came quicker than I expected. Locke Stream Hut was a nice 16 bunk hut and I had lunch there. At 1300 I continued on with more of the same track. The rain was getting harder and I started thinking about my options. I could do the big river crossing today before the effects of todays rain raised the tiver levels too much and then camp on the trail or I could have another early day and stay in Kiwi Hut and hope that the river was crossable tomorrow when I could cross with the others for safety and have a warm comfortable sleep. I decided if I reached the hut before 1500 I would continue on and cross the river but luckily I reached the turnoff at 1505. I headed for the hut and got the fire going straight away. I was dry except for a patch on my stomach for some reason. With the fire everything dried quickly and I relaxed for the next hour and a bit when the others arrived thankful for the fire. They were all wet, even those with gortex jackets so it made me pleased with how my jacket performed.
It was another fun night together and I am lucky to be spending this time with a good bunch of people. It would not be fun spending 4 nights if one of them was annoying.
The hut stayed toasty with the fire and I was hopeful of a mouse free night as there was mouse poison and a mouse trap and no droppings anywhere. This hut has been adopted by a man called Graham and he comes regularly to clean and do maintenance. I think this is why the hut is so well equipped.
As usual we went to sleep when it got dark.