Man, that was some sleep. Nine hours, so I guess I was physically tired.

Because I was early to bed, despite that length of time horizontal, it was still dark when I woke, and an eerie fog covered the landscape. Very atmospheric, even when the light came.

Too damp for a frost, despite the elevation of the hut at 1130 m.

Drank coffee, and ate porridge, then thought I might visit the warden’s hut. Must be around somewhere, but I hadn’t seen it in the times I’d visited before.

Early on I followed a few trails into the forest, but they led to camping sites. Then I spotted a well-beaten track, that didn’t have much in the way of markers or trimming, and followed that. In my jandals. It went on a bit, then some more. More. After about 10 minutes I was about to turn back when I spotted the roof.

Voices. Four guys about my age were inside having their breakfast. The hut was built in 1977 before the current Salisbury Lodge was built, hence the distance.

After a 20 minute chat, I headed back to pack up, and put my boots on.

Eventually, just before 10 am I was away, off to Karamea Bend Hut. Signage stated five hours from memory, but by my reckoning from my GPS it turned out there were almost 7 hours of actual walking time.

The day was cool and cloudy, but plenty of blue sky, and the various peaks around Mount Arthur and the super steep Twins were on show.

I staggered in after more than an hour in the pitch dark, hacking my way through the forest. The track that is sublime on a smooth path on the open river flats further up the Leslie Valley, became more challenging as I progressed, with some sidling and creek crossings. More up-and-down, so my torch needed to be on full beam to pick up the track ahead.

Once again I had a deserted and quite cold hut to myself. So it was another early night.

All in all, one of my favourite days tramping, but I’ve been having a few of these recently.

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

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Karamea Bend Hut

Karamea Bend Hut, Kahurangi National Park exterior
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