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June: Stewart Island

Posted 1-Jun-2018 by Norsewear

Warm feet help you sleep. At least, that’s what I discovered recently while walking the North West Circuit on Rakiura/Stewart Island. 

The first day was a grunt and my legs were relieved to reach Bungaree Hut. There were a few sandflies, but you could still see out of the hut windows, so there was no need for insect repellent. The second day was reasonably fine but the weather forecast was for rain and gale force winds. The rain came the next day and didn’t let up for the rest of the trip. At Smoky Beach, the winds were supersonic and the blown sand felt like needles being driven through my eyeballs. At Long Harry Hut, it felt like the hut was being lifted off its piles. 

But just as it’s darkest before dawn and the bellbird hides its sublime song under a drab green coat, so it is with tramping. Suddenly my legs got used to the hills and the bush sheltered me from the wind and rain. Rounding a corner on the track, there were not one, but two kiwi poking around. Once aware of each other, they raced through the scrub, the larger one driving away its smaller rival with jabs of its long beak. It was a bit like watching a debate in parliament, only the participants weren’t quite so rotund.

I carried five pairs of Norsewear socks, including a rough pair, which I find perfect for 5.30am bike rides. Serious Trekker Merinos, Dress Possum (Dame Edna would be impressed), a merino blend and an alpaca blend. I couldn’t help noting the DOC workers, stuck in one of the huts for two days while they waited to be choppered out, had Norsewear on as well. 

Which brings me back to warm feet and sleep. It got pretty cold on Rakiura, but I slept like a lamb, or to be more correct, like a merino/possum/alpaca cross.

Murray Smith