I started on the trail at 6.50am this morning with a nice fresh pair of legs after a marvellous night’s sleep. It was a beautiful misty morning. The Mavora Walkway climbed gently through beech forest, where I spent the first 2 hours clearing cobwebs from the narrow path before reaching the saddle. The trail became a mix of tussock and bog, and I came upon a peaty-looking brown lake, and wondered if this is what the Scottish Highlands might look like.
The sun came out at 9am and thankfully there was a gentle cool breeze. Everything else around me was so still – there wasn’t a sound except the odd chirrup of crickets and birdsong. I thanked my lucky stars (again) that I had all of this to myself. I continued on the saddle through the tussock (large mounds of long brown grass) which you’d think might be easy, but alas, some of them are as tall as me! They are also interspersed with grassy mounds, boulders, bog, and little streams, so you have to be on the lookout for the next orange marker on a pole somewhere far away, plus be looking at your feet in case of trippage and a broken ankle.
I reached Taipa hut at 10am, had a quick break and donned plenty of sunscreen. The next section to Boundary hut was spent walking over glacial moraines, again crossing numerous little streams (all crossble without wet feet). Sadly I came across a few which were choked with bright green or brown slime.. I’m assuming it was Didymo. I’ve never seen it before, but it looked pretty hideous.
I saw lots of butterflies today, mostly small orange, white and blue ones. There were lots of crickets and cicadas too. I carried one with me for a while – I’m not sure where he was but he was singing away somewhere just over my shoulder. As an aside… Did you know that bumblebees love the colour blue? Whenever I get to a hut the person in blue is always inundated with curious bumblebees. Apparently it’s because blue/violet coloured flowers are the ones most rich in pollen (e.g lavender) so bumblebees are drawn to the colour.
I passed Boundary hut at 2pm, but didn’t call in. I arrived at Careys hut at 3.30pm on the shore of North Mavora lake. I wanted to free camp on the lake shore, so I walked about 600m around the shore and found a great little shady spot. It didn’t score highly for ‘flatness’ but more than made up for it in solitude and phemomenal views over North Mavora lake and the mountains all around.
I did my usual camp setup routine, then went for a swim. The water was beautiful and clear and the views were spectacular. Upon exiting the water there were no sandflies!
In the evening I mended my latest pair of shoes at the weak spot on the sides of the toe box (where all pairs have required a few stitches). I dined in the sun, on the beach by the lake surrounded by the huge mountains.
My music was the sound of the little waves on the lakeshore, and when the breeze picked up I could hear the rustling of the trees all the way across the other side of the lake (thankfully no boats or jetskis this far up the lake). It really doesn’t get much better than this!!
The further I go South, the lighter it gets at night, even though the solstice is over a month passed. At the time of writing it’s 9.50pm and still light! Another milestone today, as I entered the Southland region.