The sky was a light pink when we woke. Perhaps the rain was coming.
When I was a kid we had a pet rat. It lived in a cage that it liked to escape from...a perfectly reasonable passtime considering its living arrangements.
One morning we awoke to find it drowned in a large flower pot of water. A horrible death.
For this reason I don't like to come to huts and find buckets or pots of unsupervised water and we try not to leave open water out over night.
Yeah...there is a mouse plague this year...but there are kinder ways of killing the little buggers and people have to drink out of those pots.
This morning we woke up to find a Gecko stuck in the bottom of my coffee cup. Fortunately the cup was empty and the Gecko was alive.
It may have been attracted by the residue of the hot raro drink we'd had before bed.
An ultralite pudding.
On the wall above our accidental lizard trap, was a poster asking for sightings and photos of any mountain Geckos we might have seen.
He kept his mouth closed so we couldn't see if it was orange like the ones on the poster...but he looked traumatised enough without us poking at him to get a look at his gums.
We named it Ed after Whiona's bedmate and let it go behind the hut. We'll be contacting Mandy at Otago DoC when we get to Methven*.
The excitement distracted us from our day's work.
The track up to the pass that would take us to the next valley wasn't too bad. As we rose off the hot flats we could feel a cool breeze.
We met Canadian Sobo Isobel in her tent a kilometre from the hut. She had enjoyed her walk so much yesterday that the nearby hut hadn't seemed necessary.
It had been one of her favorite days.
This was good news.
As we've walked the island we've learned that geography and scenery don't necessarily make the day.
It's the variables that make a day good or bad.
Energy levels. Moods. Company. Food. Water. The weather. Hut mates. Random and singular events. Trauma from the day before. Bad nutrition from the day before. Baby bunny rabbits dieing in your hands.
These things and more get mixed up until the end of the day when you can sit down and think for a while, before you rate how its been.
For us the pass was alright. The tussock descent was a bit shit. The five kilometres of stoney creek bed was a bit shit. The hut we arrived at was...a bit shit.
And I was right. The bad weather had arrived. We got ominous thunder as we negotiated the creek and it was gloomy and spitting by the time we got to the hut...a gloomy tin shed with less chalm than...a gloomy tin shed.
I'm not fussy...but Comyn's Hut could do with an extreme makeover. One featuring a bulldozer or gellignite.
Then again, perhaps this sort of industrial design might become fashionable in the future.
We'd played cat and mouse with Peter and Andrew all day, but once they'd had a chance to assess the dour decor of Comyn's they decided to make a break for A-frame Hut two hours on.
We didn't follow...A-frame only has three bunks.
We washed some clothes...the bad weather evaporated and we sat in the wind and sun. Anywhere was better than inside the almost windowless carport.
As we tried to enjoy ourselves an evil looking black helicopter came up the valley...circled twice, then thought better of it and went back down the valley.
Eventually the sun sunk below the horizon that loomed a few hundred metres above.
Bed was a blessed relief.
* We never heard back from Mandy at DoC...I hope she still has her job.