After three nights on my own, not seeing anyone in the meantime, but I made it to Venus where last night there were two people in residence.

At least their packs were, and I could see two different sized runners, a couple maybe. They were down at the river swimming and being 6 pm when I tottered in were maybe not expecting company. Quickly they put on clothes and we chatted.

They had come from Karamea Bend Hut, with a huge day before over from Trilobite in the Cobb.

That much was easy, the rest, they were Belgian and could speak English, well, it was all stilted conversation. Anything I started with he either wasn’t going to respond, knew already or wasn’t interested. No humour in Venus.

Man, I think I’m fairly inclusive in my conversation, as a long term solo traveler you understand how to provoke some dialogue, but this time I had to admit defeat. I retired to my bunk and read my book, despite my lack of human contact in recent days that was just way too hard work.

Strangely, in the morning they warmed to me and chatted away merrily.

I was up after the 6 am news and weather report but they still left an hour before me. They were aiming for Taipo where I had spent the night some days before.

No worries, I ambled a short day down to Crow Hut, it’s a good un.

The walk was relatively easy, a few ups and downs, the biggest only 20 m, also, much of the time the track is close to the river.

I guess my main observation was that due to the helicopter culling of the deer in the last decades the undergrowth to the forest floor is looking bountiful, lots of pepper wood, small leaved coprosma, etc, and plenty of windfall, both old and new, to make travel on any river terraces quite hard going without a track.

I was thinking of my earlier dream of coming down the Roaring Lion River, a similar, if narrower river valley, and, somehow I think I came to the right decision to take a track rather than go cross country.

A word of explanation here, I did just the short hop to Crow to extend my trip so I could avoid a Saturday night at Salisbury Lodge, a place usually well populated in January weekends, often by families. Having an extra night means it will be Sunday when I’m up there and people may have retreated to their own beds. I can handle a few people but not a entire hutfull.


Back on my lonesome in this most splendidly located hut, a view straight down the Karamea and looking up the Garibaldi Ridge, some fine red beech forest with crown fern understory out the back.

The issue, outside at least?

Yes, there’s plenty of wasps around, fortunately no stings to date, bumble bees in all the buttercups out the front, and a fair wall of sandflies. I’ve used the can of fly spray found at the hut to eliminate the insect life on the interior.

Another early night I think, misty rain outside but looking like it might come down and more heavily.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Crow Hut

Crow Hut, Kahurangi National Park
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