About 15 minutes later, Carol catches up. Mt Federation is a colossal bulk beside us, scattered with matagouri, a 45 degree version of the valley we are walking through.
The track is a much looser affair by now, often defined as much by cows - you want evidence? - as by trampers, and poles and signs such as the one below move us along.
Even though we're heading up the floor of the valley, it is not level going. There are a series of low ridges - I'd like to know how they formed - often with creeks or boggy areas in between, feeding into the Henry. The ground is stony and often rough. If clay forms anywhere, it does not hang around. Ragwort is becoming more common, too, especially in association with matagouri.
And down we go and up again.
It's still cow country, and they still prefer to walk along the track like us to move up and down the valley.
However, there is some evidence that there are horses around as well. I was interested here in the association between horse shit and the brightly coloured yellow-orange fungi which it appears to be hosting.
It's the basis of the old riddle, "What do voters and mushrooms have in common?" to which the answer is, "You feed them horse shit and keep them in the dark."
It's the first time I have seen it outside a mushroom farm.
Pretty soon we come across the horses, with cows grazing alongside.
It's not the most picturesque spot we've ever stopped at for lunch, but the wind is strong and bitterly cold and shelter is the major consideration at this point.
A short while back, the walking track joined with a 4WD track, as the Henry Valley began to narrow considerably. We head on up the valley, negotiating some quite large side creeks along the way. I figure, if a 4WD can manage the terrain, I can too, though once again, I am starting to feel the first signs of post-lunch somnolence.
We are approaching the Henry swing bridge. Not to worry. The Maruia bridge was solid as you could get, and I did manage the Heaphy and the Gunner last year.
We follow the 4WD track uphill,
and then follow a series of cairns across the meadow.
to where it drops into the Henry Gorge.