Has to be one of the easiest day’s tramp ever, just walking through the surprisingly diverse big tree forest above the river on the usual river terrace. Hardly any ups and downs, even at the creek crossings and the big creek, Slippery Creek, has a swing bridge.

I knew there was a reason to venture down the Karamea, in fact it’s been pretty OK since I dropped over Little Wanganui Saddle into the Taipo River valley, and that seems a long time ago now.

More time admiring this fabbo river although it is flattening out and maybe getting tamer. More pools investigated but only four fish spotted, the first before even the Crow River swing bridge, maybe 30m from last night’s bed. Lots of deer tracks and very recent as in since it rained last, and it rained during the night.

Tomorrow will be my biggest day for a while, six hours the sign says, up to Salisbury Lodge, not sure where I’ll go from there, either head out or up Mt Arthur and that’s all weather dependent.

Did a reconciliation of the food tonight, a few extra nights of spag and porridge, just right for the lunches if I head out to civilisation on Sunday, ie, the day after tomorrow.

I got onto my particular diet, the spaghetti, when riding my bike in Central Australia. I met a fellow cyclist, Sebastien, in Alice Springs and it worked out we were both wanting to head up the 1150km Tanami Track, a dirt road leading to Halls Creek in Western Australia, it’s a shortcut to flavour of the month tourist destination, The Kimberleys, with a couple of major leaps between the specks of civilisation.

As it turned out I left a couple of days before Seb but due to some mechanical issues with the bike he managed to catch up.

I changed two things with my travels after the Seb experience: can’t light those bonfires, mate, that’s insect habitat, I might mention it was single digit temperatures at night, ie, cold in the tent; and, my then preferred pasta version, penne, way too bulky.

He had a point, I was transporting a lot of air, he showed me a huge waterproof bag that must have contained eight packets of the stuff, a spag log, we were out for 15 days between supply stores, man, that was a tree.

In those days, six or seven hours riding on the softish dirt roads, often smashed up by the mining trucks, we got through half a packet of pasta each a night. Now it lasts three nights. His rationale made a lot of sense at the time, even more sense now when you carry it on your back and bulk is an issue on a long trip.

See you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Actually I learned a whole lot more from Seb, the main one that travelling with another like minded person, occasionally, can be massive fun, particularly when they have an enormous sense of humour and don’t mind the odd chat about the meaning of life.

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