It had been another bad night's sleep...for the three guys that is.
Whiona had...slept...through the mouse attack.
They seemed to be able to travel down the walls of the hut between the corrugated iron and the black building paper that pretended to be insulation.
The vertical tubes delivered them to all sorts of mouse-friendly places like loaves of bread and chocolate steamed pudding cups (sorry...I forgot to say...the hunters gave us pudding too).
It was like a rodent shuttle service. Or teleportation service. Or those cool vacuum tubes you used to get in old department stores.
One mouse got stuck in the bread bag at some ungodly hour and it took two goes before one of the Cali boys found it.
The rustling, scraping and scuttling went on till the sun rose.
"I got about an hour and a half of sleep last night", mumbled Peter as he got up for breakfast.
Which luckily made up for our shared misery.
French Toast and real coffee for all.
With all the extra food and our Sloboing I'm starting to put on some of the weight I've lost. It's a disturbing feeling.
I'm going to have to start purging to keep up appearances.
Because we'd "supplied" the food Andrew and Peter did the dishes. They also volunteered to sweep up the hut.
There was nothing for it but to walk down the mountain and out of the river valley below.
Bush Stream actually had some bush. Beech trees are making a bit of a comeback in the valley. They look like wilding pines, they're doing such a good job of it.
The valley looked landscaped and had a Japanese garden quality about it. Amongst the trees, tussock and mountain daisies grew as if they were planted for some sort of lifestyle reality TV show.
At lunch time we went for a grundy dunk in a deep pool at the bottom of a 400 metre rock slide. As we dried off in the sun we ate the last of our crackers and cheese.
If you've been following our blog you may have noticed that some days don't have photos that cover all of the day's events.
This is usually because:
Nothing worth photographing occurred.
Or something unusual happened.
If I believed in the supernatural, what happened today was more than unusual...it was an omen.
As we crossed the river for the last time to enter Mesopotamia Station I looked down at the track in front of me.
The baby rabbit was fitting. It's eyes were open and it convulsed.
I picked it up and held it. It was about the size of a tennis ball in my hand. A soft warm and cuddly tennis ball.
I have this thing for baby animals.
I could take it on the trail with me. I could keep it in my balance pocket until it was feeling better. I could feed it...grass? Crackers and cheese. What will I name it?
As these thoughts flashed through my mind Fiona scruffed it gently behind the neck to see if she could calm it in the same way vets calm stressed animals.
The day now had a strange pall to it.
As we left the trail and trudged along the farm road to "Messie" we couldn't tell where we were.
Whiona has been reading a book called "Cold Mountain".
In it a man wanders around Civil War torn America. He comes across all sorts of strange people and places.
The recent death, the ugly dry weather and our lostness combined to make our walk into the Station much weirder than it should have been. It felt like the book.
The weirdness wasn't helped by the reception we got.
The first farm worker we came across not only ignored us when we approached, but wouldn't look me in the eye when I cornered him. I eventually got some directions out of him but left feeling...
Then Braden (see blog from two days ago) came round the corner. Anna's number one fan, from the other day's hunting party, brought things back to normal.
His friendliness got us to our accommodation and we settled in.
Mesopotamia Station is a farm. It's not a backpackers. Or a motel. Or a camping ground.
We're pretty laid back and adaptable. But apart from Braden's welcome the place was a bit of a mystery for us. We'd been quite excited to come here.
The history. The name. It was a special place that we were looking forward to visiting.
We got our food from up at the big house. We arranged the next day's chopper flight across the not-very-deep and probably quite crossable Rangitata River...but...
We could've just come up the drive, stayed at the old cottage without telling anyone...and no one would've noticed or cared.
It's so different to everything that's happened to us on this journey that we felt like something was wrong.
Nah. I think "Messie" is just being itself. Not flashy. Not touristy. It's a sheep station. Nuff said.
We had a place to stay. We couldn't figure out how the water worked and there was no one around to tell us, but the cottage had real chairs and a friendly farm cat.
The normality was a bit reassuring really.
Then again...I would be getting into a helicopter tomorrow morning...