It was bloody freezing last night. Claire was in a state of shock as she packed up and left. Lui and Kristina said it was the coldest night they'd had since they started the trail in November.
The Robin that was waiting at the tent flap like a pet cat waiting for breakfast didn't have any problems with the temperature at all.
Us four late-starters sat around the unused - by us - campfire, shared some of our REAL coffee and talked gear.
Poor Lui was carrying an Aarn pack like Whiona's but was having real trouble with it. He had bought it in Nelson because his brother lent him a pack that stunk. Literally.
One week into their journey the Aarn started to go wrong. His hip belt began to play up which meant all of his gear weight was being supported by his shoulders. His hips had been bruised and his shoulders were very sore.
This isn't what the New Zealand-designed and ingenious pack is supposed to do. It was now a couple of months later and the belt was falling apart. They had contacted Aarn HQ in Christchurch and would get a replacement but it was kind of too late.
Apart from a few niggles our Aarn packs have been almost perfect. They are really complex to set up, but once you've got it right you should be sweet. We also have the all-important balance pockets - which Lui didn't.
We think he may have been set up with it incorrectly in Nelson but can't really say. When you're in the middle of nowhere you can't look up YouTube to figure out what's going wrong. Perhaps he's just the wrong shape...
We say our goodbyes and head up the river through gentle and spongey beech forest to the South Mavora Lake. The greenstone coloured and crystal clear river may be infected with Didymo, but the closer to the lake we got the less rock snot we saw. This was Brian Turner and Dave Witherow country. The trout were jumping.
It's one of the most beautiful rivers we've spent time with.
It soon widened, slowed and became a lake. The day was still cool but a swim became necessary. We knew it would get really hot later on so gingerly waded into the cold cold water.
Perfect can be an overstatement...but it was...prefect.
We were close to actual civilisation so opted for an underwear swim...which meant the kilt was about to get some traditional treatment as my gruns dried on the outside of my pack.
Yep. It was time to go "au naturel", "as nature intended" or the much more manly - "commando".
"Mummy! That man's wearing a dress," the young innocent called out in front of 15 or so glampers sitting on the banks of North Mavora Lake.
."...an ya ken wha wee laddie?" I muttered to Whiona in my best and grimiest Glaswegian brogue - courtesy of too much time spent reading Irvine Welsh - "ahm nekid ander thearrrrrr tae boot."
Aah...civilisation. Before the wind whipped up and the police were called we strode on.
In a secluded spot I put my now dry daks back on. Too much of a good thing can be wearisome.
We left the shelter of the beech for the last 7ks of the day and as predicted, we baked. Walking beside a lake and through plenty of fresh fords didn't help. It was a hard, sweaty end to the day's work.
We resorted to treats to get us through. Music and some random but delicious lollies that Whiona describes as Mrs Simpsons Anti Nausea Pills...Ginger and capsicum sweets with either a hint of lime or orange...mmmmm
We walked down to the hut, said hello to Claire and went straight to the beach for a swim under the still baking sun.
Tomorrow: More heat probably. Less lake. Definitely.