The lower Dart
Flatter and flatter
Lazy rise - let the rest of them head off. Most of us are heading for the same transport out at 2pm and the hike is published as 4.5 - 5.5 hours (and some other timings depending on which bit you read).
It's very buggy now we're down low so I don't want to wait any longer than I have to at the road-end so I don't leave the hut till a wee bit before 9. We finally have some rain today so it's nowhere near as hot, so I pass pretty much everyone else on the track at various points and still arrive at the road end with 45 minutes to spare. Lots of bug spray required.
Out of nowhere, the French couple I shared a night with at Alabaster hut on the Hollyford arrive having walked over the Routeburn mountains and down to here - heading up to do the reverse of what I just did. I warn them about the descent - try to convince them to be very careful and perhaps not do it if it's wet. They nod and thank me but I don't worry about them too much as the bus arrives and we're off - they've done lots of alpine hiking so have tackled worse me thinks.
In to Glenorchy and one of the most welcome showers I have ever experienced. The backpackers is awful but I care not - I spend a great evening with the locals and my American river-running friends who invite me to go out to Oregon where they are the river wardens in some serious wilderness. Maybe some day.
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