We ticked off a new hut - Blue Mtn Hut in the Waihopai catchment and also stayed at Team Hut in the Saxton. It was an ideal place as we were damp from walking in the rain with no lunch for a few hours prior. Frank had suggested we keep going right to the car which at that time was about 3 hours walk away but I said I was cold (after that I put my hat and gloves on - duh!).


On arrival at Team Hut Frank set to and chopped up some kindling and firewood from the chunks of willow there and we got ourselves cozy and our gear dried. We also had to dry out our gear the morning before after camping on the way from Acheron Saddle to Port Cooper Saddle as while we were putting up the tent, it started to rain so our placement of the tent was a bit rushed and we got a wee trickle moving along the floor of the tent (inside) from where the fly was touching the inner. Frank straightened it out some more by repositioning the pegs at the foot of the tent and putting my pack between the fly and the tent to keep them apart.


Apart from the hard, sloping and uneven floor giving us a rotten night's sleep the site was ideal. I even had a wee ditch with an overhang to put stuff in to keep it dry overnight. Frank called it my kitchen cupboard and the next day I could run the cooker in there out of the wind. Frank said our Montbell Horizon tent which we've had for 17 years is only a play tent and not good for rain as it has no vestibule so I might look around and see if we can upgrade to something with a similar weight which has a vestibule. I think some of the MSR tents e.g. Hubba Hubba might fit the bill. He talked of taking a tent with a clip-on fly and I think there are models like that around. Anyway he'll be carrying the tentage so that's his problem!


We were seeing 50 plus deer a day in the Waihopai - most flats had animals on them. We saw about 15 fallow deer altogether. One kept walking towards us until it was about 7m away and only left when its mates arrived on the scene and were immediately spooked. Apparently fallow stags are really aggressive and will drive reds out of their territory. They spring off rather than running - so cute. We also saw heaps of goats and a solo pig and then 3 pigs in a group - all black. There were animal trails everywhere so we just followed them if things got a bit tricky to figure out. There was animal shit all over the place like a holding paddock in a shearing shed!


We stayed at Saxton Hut and Top Gordon Hut with 3 Kiwi guys and one was overbearing, talking in a loud voice and not tuning in to what was being said. This morning we met what we think is a hunting guide and her young man client. She's Italian and very exotic looking with the full-on Maria Callas stage make-up. But obviously strong and competent from what she was saying (and asking).


So we had some lovely moments and views but most days there was some rain which initially was intermittent light showers but yesterday's went on for quite some time. We were glad not to have to share the hut on the last night.