Sunday dawned fine and clear and very cold. A compulsory 11 hours sleep with everyone down by about 8 pm and an extra hour in bed with the end of daylight savings. Mostly a goodnight however one punter was heard hauling her ass and her mattress outside as she finally gave up on her attempt to sleep with so much racket around – mostly her own husband and her sons!
Wayne Skudder gave up his double Heaphy intentions early and has begun a limp all the way back to the start – about 45 kms!!! looked in serious pain.
The track was a 700 metre descent all the way down thru mixed podocarp forest. Lots of bird life with curious bush Robins and fan tails to entertain. At the bottom of the descent – 3 hours – we had an early lunch break at Lewis hut – then onwards and over the big bridge on the Heaphy river. The forest is completely different now as we moved thru spectacular Nikau groves along the river banks.
The Heaphy hut is right at the mouth of the Heaphy river and sand flies are fairly numerous and murderous to exposed skin. Nice brand new hut with many mod cons – even flushing loos! Like all the huts it boasts a hut Weka – they are very curious and always looking for some free feed. An assorted bunch of baby boomers seem to typify the demographics of the tramper on the Heaphy and we have now got on first name terms with our fellow travelers. Got to meet a couple , David and his wife Jo and found that their son George is a good friend of Samantha’s – both 4 th year students at Akl med school.