Lake Selfe proved to be an excellent choice for the night.
Not only was it comfortable, but it sat near a shortcut over Harper River that would cut about five ks off our day's work.
A small group of walkers had told us about it the day before.
We just had to go through some farm land.
As we walked along the road to our shortcut a farmer stopped his ute and asked us if we wanted to catch a ride.
"Do you want a lift down the road, or are you a couple of those sticklers?"
By sticklers he meant TeA walkers who won't accept lifts...Te Araroa zealots. Staunch walkers.
He was going the other way so temptation was never going to be an issue.
He was really friendly and knew all about the trail. He had a walker's drop box at the farm and looked like he'd be glad to have a tent or two in the yard.
He was happy his neck of the woods was part of the trail and thought us sticklers were an interesting addition to his life.
But he wasn't a great fan of the younger fishermen who hang around the lakes with their beer and rubbish.
We slept amongst bottles and smelly meat packs the night before so knew where he was coming from.
As we approached our shortcut we saw another farmer in the field above. What were we going to do? He would see us if we jumped the fence.
The five kilometre detour meant an extra hour of walking!
A radical suggestion was mooted. We'd ask his permission.
"You can't go that way," was his reply.
"It's the farm. Just jump over that [other] fence and you'll be right."
An hour saved. But wait a sec. We left the trail. Does that mean we aren't sticklers anymore?
It took a few hours of rock hopping up the river, but we eventually made it into beech forest.
It was cool. It was sheltered. It smelled sweet.
And mice scurried in broad daylight before us as we walked up to Hamilton Hut.
We'd left the drought and entered plague country.