Nov 15 day 76 Porters Creek Hut to St Arnaud 6:45-2:00 28 km
Today was a classic version of the horse smelling the barn. I was ready for regular food, a hot shower, and a cold beer, so all effort was bent to that end. Got a good brisk start on a fine cliff-edge trail, and the designers were able to build out a long distance level about half way up the ridge above various creeks and rivers. Made good time on well-made track. The views were amazing, but that seems a redundancy given the week I have had. Later in the day, the terrain shifted with tufts of grass and a lot of water. The mountains there were weeping. I had several river and stream crossings. On one small one I took quite a tumble–sharp rock in lower back which tightening my pack waist belt and a lot of hard walking seemed to ameliorate. The last half was a long run down a four-wheel track and a road walk into St. Arnaud where I had long great talk with Richard, a trekker who runs the Nelson Lakes motel (which has incredible backpackers facilities) and then with Triple Hands, a Kiwi hiking guide who is a triple crowner (AT, PCT, CDT). Got my food in order, did laundry, and tried to catch up on email. St Arnaud is a good little town, wished I had more time to be here.