When I looked outside the window this morning clouds were again hanging low and it was raining again. So I turned around and slept until 9 o’clock. When I left after breakfast the weather slightly got better and the rain stopped almost completely. The next hut was only 12km away but the DOC sign said 7h and the trail notes even 10h! So either this day must be the hardest one on the TA or somebody did some serious calculation mistakes… I was afraid that the trail would be even worse than yesterday and with this justifying the long hours. But no – the trail was actually a lot better.

After less than two hours I had already significantly more than half of the distance done. So I had time to take care of my new friends again – the smurf mushrooms! I already tried to take pictures yesterday but the little light, wet conditions and the shiny surface did not let me take a good shot. But today it worked. Have you ever seen mushrooms in this colour???




And so I did a few more nature shots today. Tomorrow I also want to capture the red friends of smurfy ?




Can you spot the trail? A little bit right of the centre is a log which gives a trail over the valley down below. The log was covered with moss and extremely slippery – almost made in my pants…

I met a couple of hunters down at the river and they told me they had shot two stags already. So Inwas glad that I was wearing my rain cover which should clearly separate me from a deer.
I arrived very early at around 3 o’clock and was tempted to just continue – but the next hut was 20km away so I called it a day. I am finally king of my castle again tonight.

I treated myself with a nice fire again which I manged to get burning with completely wet wood. That was a nice surprise and gift for today. Besides this I had to find out that my shoes were already broken. The inside fabric was rubbed through already on the heel part in both shoes! After 5 days and maybe 120km… I guess that’s a clear sign now! Only interesting question will be how to return them to Auckland now and get new ones…

Even though a birthday is just a day as any other I thought a lot about it today and if this was really my favourite one so far. All by myself in the bush?! I definitely had worse ones but also better ones I have to admit. But I guess I am not in the position to complaint – I asked for it… ?
I guess the party has to be postponed a little bit. After my dinner I had half a block of chocolate as a special treat (which I will have to compensate by eating less the next four days or running faster to get to the supermarket). Amazing how little things in the right environment can become legendary! So the little penguin, the fire, the “huge” portion of chocolate and myself enjoyed the party time – Jiehaaa! ????.
And after that I went to bed early.