Outside and a few thousand feet below, cotton wool clouds roll out to the rotten teeth of the Southern Alps and Arthur's Pass rattles. Lake Coleridge slops.
We think we can see up the Rangitata River and over Mount Sommers through a gap in the cloud. There is still a little bit of snow on the foothills that drain into the Rangitata but the land is already looking parched.
It feels weird sitting in the plane in our tramping gear. Wearing our only shirts. and boots. Our walking sticks waiting all low-tech in the over-head lockers.
It's not long before the green fields of Southland come into view and we're soon out on the Invercargill runway. It's cold, windy and gloomy.
At Riverton the sun is shining and we soon meet our first Trail Angel. Marion works at Te Hikoi - The Riverton Museum - and soon has our packs in her boot. We just need to give her a text when we walk back and she'll bring them to us.
Te Hikoi is a treat. Well designed, friendly and pretty interesting.
Next we suss out the camping ground and meet Veronica - its new owner. She's noticed that there are quite a few people walking past her gate..."they seem to be doing some trail...Te...something."
We fill her in a bit and book our tent site.
A LUCKY BREAK
But a couple of k's before the start of the trail we met our second Trail Angels. (Is there a more low-key New Zild name for people who help walkers...? If there isn't I reckon we need one).
Marcus was out mowing the lawn when we walked past his house.
He and his family are into walking and had us in for a cuppa, some Achilles tendon talk and best of all a ride...no...make that two rides...Ok...three.
He also became our camera man. We've hardly got any photos of ourselves walking together, but not only did he take the obligatory start-of-the-track pics, he came and met us for some more at the end of the walk.
A walk that was a perfect end to a very civilised day. Perhaps we'll save going feral till later in the week.