Saturday, February 18: Sunny & hot
Tramping: 14.0 km
Freshwater Hut (Doc)
Managed to sleep in until about 9:00 (the others only had to get up to catch their flight back), so the morning was rather relaxed packing. I was ready to go soon after 10:00 and planned on making a number of hydration breaks along the way.
Stopped first of all at the homestead for a sip, then charged along the somewhat muddy section, which, however, was rapidly drying out, so that most of the mud required no major detours or planning. Ran into a German, Frank, who was doing Freshwater-Mason Bay and back again in a day, followed by an American couple who were staying at Mason Bay tonight and wanting to be back tomorrow morning for the water taxi at 9:00. Finally, a Dutch woman who was doing a more leisurely pace but had everything with her including a bed roll. After that just empty track.
Stopped again at the beginning of the flood-prone section. The board walk takes up all of a couple of minutes and the flood-prone section was over by about half an hour.
Coffee & cake (from him, hot water from me, although gas is running low) introduced the wider ranging discussion. He is formerly a steward @ Lufthansa from Bückeburg, in some form of commerce (or was, early retirement), on his way from South America via Antarctica to NZ (not his first stay) and has always wanted to do a couple of days on Stewart Island, and this time it has worked, while his boat (Russian expedition workhorse) is in Invercargill. From there it’s back to Germany via Singapore in a couple of days. He has since elected for a snooze, and the temperature in the hut has reached 29° with the flywire windows open.
Frank snored every now and then, not too much and I was soon asleep. He had no sleeping bag with him & eventually had to cover himself with another mattress and lie on his back to keep warm.