7 Mar, 27km, 9hrs, light rain
As I left Birchwood through the back shortcut the farmers had flocks of sheep herded into the building and some sort of farming operation going on. The music was loud and rocking.
I had to walk through the holding paddock that held the sheep last night. No grass, slippery and wet. One sheep dead on the track.
I skipped through the paddock quickly and was on the road, light rain falling and cool.
The Woodlaw Track goes through private land; Birchwood Station, through Matariki Forests and other private owners.
First the track went up a fence line climb. It followed new felled trees and new planting of acres of eucalyptus trees. Then a hard left turn straight up a steeper hill. Whew I was not expecting such a hill climb.
As I was climbing I got 4G and a message from Max saying he and Bex were staying over at Merivale Hut and they will see me tonight. So excited I got to the top in no time. Company tonight!
A further bush section to finish with a tiring long highway road walk to Merivale Rd.
I arrived at the small 5 bunk private hut, Bex and Max greeted me with their stories of the last few days. It was a tranquil farm setting but small hut with a scratchy mouse in the cupboard.
A little later NOBO Jesse arrived and hitched to the pub, it was his birthday and said he would return and he did. He filled our heads with the section ahead and we had lots of laughs before we all settled in to the sleep noises we each make after a long day walking these hills.
A little excitement tucking our food away from the scratcher in the cupboard.