5 46pm.

12ºC.

No wonder I’m reposing here in bed, ie, in my sleeping bag on a foam mattress that’s covered in plastic, eating my delicious dinner. That’s starting to become quite the habit, lucky there’s be no others resident in the hut with me.

It’s dark enough to wear my headlamp, even outside you’d need it.

That was my Sunday night. I’ve got my beanie and jacket on, woolly pants and, err, socks, they are dry ones employed only for internal hut duties.

I had left early enough, around 9am, after I’d wandered back up the track to take some photos, and the change in vegetation on this side of the range is quite pronounced. It’s a much more austere blend of trees, not so much in the way of shrubbery style undergrowth, maybe it’s the distinct lack of sunshine on the south side of the range, some of the forest patches don’t receive any direct light at this time of the year, for a few months at least.

The beech forest, mountain and silver mostly up higher but some red beech added to the mix further down, is well shaggy, lichen dripping from the branches, Old man’s beard, and from the trunks, ferns and sphagnum moss on the ground, it looks amazing and at least down to the Taipo swing bridge is just about as good walking as you could hope for scenic-wise.

I stopped at a gorgeous gorge, water clear between the rock but with a green tinge, you can see the pebbles distinctly on the bottom of the river, maybe 4 or 5m down.

Yeah, the walk down the Taipo River really rates highly in the attraction stakes and is easy enough under hoof.

After the swing bridge which diverts off traffic on the more popular Wangapeka Track, the lesser used Karamea-Leslie Track I’m doing is harder going, you enter that area severely affected by the 1929 Murchison earthquake, 7.7 I believe, big ancient rockfalls much of the way so you are rock hopping even in the forest.

All in all a great day, no rain but a smidge cool out of the sun for almost the entire day, oh, that is lasting about 9.5 hours dark to dark at the moment.

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