I woke to my alarm set at the normal time of 0630 but then realised with such a short distance to walk today there was no point leaving early, and it was cold outside. I was warm last night but was wearing socks and a hat to make sure of it. When I got up the hat stayed in and I put my down jacket back on. I took my time and 20 minutes after Dan left I finished packing and cleaned the hut.
I was wearing my jacket with the hood up for warmth. It was overcast but thankfully not raining. The track crossed a swingbridge then skirted a swamp for two km. As I started a plane arrived and started aerial spraying the farm nearby. It was an annoying noise that I continued to hear for the next 3 hours shattering the normal peace of the bush. Initially I was worried about breathing in the spray but it seemed far enough away to miss me.
The track now went into the bush for 9 km to a junction. The trail notes warned that the ground trail was light and care required to keep on track but I found it good. Like yesterday the DOC track markers were well placed and plentiful. There were only a couple of times I had to search for the next marker and these were going around deadfall. I really enjoyed the track. I had to concentrate and I thought about how amazing our brains are. Most of the time I was looking a couple of meters ahead and frequently I would scan further ahead checking the track condition and looking for the next marker. While doing this my brain kept the picture of the ground in front playing forward and adjusting my feet to land in the right place.
There was a good variety of colours in the toadstools including; white, red, purple and brown.
By 1000 it had warmed up enough to take my jacket off but my sleeves stayed down. I reached the junction and the sign said 45 minutes for 3 km which is 4 km/h pace on a rough track. Without pushing too much i reached the hut in 45 minutes but the distance marker is wrong it is only 2 km.
Dan was still at Lower Wairaki Hut when I arrived. He was drying out his tent. I had lunch of tortilla, cheese, hummus and choritzo salami which is new and I really like. I finished it off with sour lollies.
I left the hut at 1400 before Dan. Now it was a 550 meter vertical climb up through the bush which seemed to pass quickly. After a very short walk on the ridge the track came into the open with fantastic views including first sighting of the southern coast. I took a break to have a snack and admire the view. I could see the ranges I would be walking over the next few days.
Now the track dropped down the ridge then off the side to the campsite. I could see the toilet from a long way off. At the campsite I checked out a few options and decided on the lower plateau under a tree for shelter from the wind.
I washed the mud out of my socks and shoes then made dinner. By the time I had finished the Sandflys had found me so I retreated to my tent. The Sandflys kept coming ambushing me everytime I left my tent. Once back in the next 5 minutes were spent clearing out those that snuck inside. By rough count I have 150 Sandflys at my front door and 40 at the back of my tent.
Dan arrived snd set up his tent next to mine.
I spent the rest of the evening reading and eating and occasionally talking with Dan.