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Day 160 Back to beech forest and birds

Thursday 19 March Top Timaru Hut to Stody's Hut Start 8.30 am Finish 4.45pm Distance 14km Total 2,539km Steps 21,957 Elevation: 800m Weather: fine, high cloud with sunny patches, then very windy. The magnitude of the decibels emanating from a person sleeping very close to me was so loud it penetrated my usually impenetrable ear plugs and was sufficiently loud to keep me awake most of the night. The stifling heat in the little hut was just the icing on the cake and I was reminded once again why I love my tent. That said it was blowing a gale outside so I don't think the tent option would have produced any greater amount of sleep.

Today I was back into beech forest. It was lovely to hear birds again, and at one stage there were six piwakawaka (Fantails) flying around me. One landed on my walking pole for a few seconds. Predictably as soon as I took out my camera they scampered. I saw a tiny wee bird, brownie green in colour, with a tiny excuse for a tail. I'm not sure what it was. Then when I was sitting down for lunch a Tomtit came to visit.

Another big climb today. Only 14km but it took nearly 7 hours which is an indication of how challenging the terrain was. I loved it. I very much have my mojo back and I don't want this to end. The others are talking about how long it is before getting to Bluff, and they can't wait to get to the end. I can't believe it is only 3 to 4 weeks to go. That is a sad thought. Tonight is again in a hut. Stodys Hut is so incredibly cute. It is an old musterer's hut with dirt floor and corrugated iron walls full of holes. There is a large stone fireplace that has been lit. Very atmospheric but my initial reaction was horror at how hot it would become in here. Fortunately it has not made a great deal of difference and it is particularly cold outside. It is also very windy so tenting isn't really an option. The hut is again full, made up of four TA hikers, and three normal trampers. It is a 6 bunk hut and there are seven of us. It is just as well two of the TA hikers from last night's hut continued on. The last guy to arrive doesn't have a tent so he is on the dirt floor. I hope for his sake the mice aren't as bad as the reputation of the hut suggests.

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