After a week of strolling down the magnificent Karamea River Valley today was a day of clambering 800m up onto the Tablelands.

A scenic wander up the picturesque Leslie River, more splendid beech forest, a couple of giant Rimu trees, some clear greenish pools hacked by nature in solid rock and the largest trout I’ve spotted in the last week.

In the past month I’ve had 24 days out tramping so the steady slope up to the tops was no worries, I don’t seem to notice the uphills these days. There’s a couple of monster views on the way up, the lookout just behind Splugeon Rock Shelter, tidied up sufficiently to now consider for possible accommodation, dirt floor and one flapping wall, the view just of the heart of Kahurangi, then, nearer the top on an avalanche path, a view way back down the Leslie to The Bend where I had started the day and then over to the left, beyond those striking limestone cliffs, you can make out the Karamea Valley off into the mist.

I’m surprisingly non-reflective of the trip so far, I guess sitting here on my lonesome for the ninth consecutive night, out the back of Mt Arthur looking over the tussock, there’s still a sense of being remote but the Salisbury Lodge hut book shows a mightily different picture for the summer months, plenty of activity then, this hut has a hut warden and more than one resident party each night.

Salisbury Lodge is surprisingly the highest hut of this trip at 1130m and despite the major wood supply and bags of coal I find it hard to get the temperature up to the high single digits.

As usual it’s early to bed, this ageing body has done a reasonable workout today.

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