Slept very well last night! In the morning the rain had stopped and there were a few spots where the sun was even starting to peek through. It still looked pretty threatening and my clothes were still damp so I layered up. Got going about eight thirty and made it about half an hour before I was too hot and had to stop to remove some layers. The trail was gorgeous! Many of the waterfalls had died down, but there was still water cascading off the thousand foot valley walls almost everywhere you looked. As the sun continued to burn off the cloud layer more and more of the snow crowned peaks came into view.
The trail itself was pretty easy - mostly level with the occasional slight slope. My knees which were so worrisome last night are fine today, likewise my feet had recovered. The trail followed the Arthur River, then crossed it and a bunch of tributaries on several scary suspension bridges, before turning and following the shore of Lake Ada. Stopped to take pictures at a couple waterfalls (Makay Falls and a number of unnamed cascades) and took it pretty easy walking and still made it to Sand Fly Point (the end of the track) by one o'clock. That's 11.5 miles (18.5 km) today, and nearly 34 miles (54 km) total! In 1908 the English poet Blanche Baughan described the track as the "finest walk in the world". This has to be an exaggeration, but I can't prove it.
The first ferry wasn't due until two o'clock and it very quickly became apparent why they call it "Sand Fly Point" - the little buggers are ruthless! Took shelter in a small hut built for that purpose, and just sat there trying to keep the weight off my feet. The ferry ride was short but it was spectacular to see the sound in the sun. Got dropped off right next to where the diving boat left from with forty-five minutes until the bus was due so a few of us went over to the cafe for a well deserved beer! The bus ride back was pretty, but was the same drive I did coming back from diving - so nothing too exciting.
Back in Te Anau I tried to check in to the backpackers again, but it was full, so I got a small cabin at the holiday camp (same owners, and adjacent to the backpackers). I was a little disappointed, but was quite thankful when I realized that the backpackers was full of a school group of ten year olds. Did laundry, had an incredible hot shower, and spreaded everything I own out to dry. Finished the day off with an excellent diner and a few beers.