|Kepler Tramp 1999 (b)
After hanging Valley Emergency Shelter, the track heads down a ridge then steeply zig-zags down to Iris Burn. Ian did count, but we could never decide what was a zig and what was a zag.
The hut was over-crowded hut, with clockwise trampers held up by the predicted bad weather, "normal" anti-clockwise trampers and those like us that jumped ahead a day. Luckily it sleeps 60! The resident keas soon started attacking the boots of those who in their ignorance left them out. The next day we got away early to escape the crowd, check out the local falls and head down the Burn.
After crossing a small saddle, one follows the river valley past "The Big Slip". Here we met a large number of Kea, apparently defending their territory from other birds. One came up and pecked my boot, while another posed for the portraits NG4a and NG5A. The walk down to Lake Manapouri is easy pleasant going, with a stroll around Shallow Bay to Moturau Hut and its enthusiastic Maori Hut Warden.
The next day we checked out Shallow Bay Hut to see if it was worth moving to that night, and while very pleasant, the sandflies and the bother of moving decided us against the move, so we had a lazy day on the shores of Manapouri.
The final day took us through a sphagnum moss (kettle) bog, along with a lake, over Forest Burn and through some very pretty beech forest along the Waiau River, to eventually arrive back at Dock Bay where we left four days before ready for that hot shower in Te Anau.
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