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American beauty

When a woman puts a partly cooked sausage in a cup at 3185m above sea level, tells you “I’ve done this before, it’ll just take a second” and carries it off into another room, it’s time to have a think. Who did she serve the last nuked sav to? Probably some ‘newly-weds or nearly-deads’ about to return on the aerial tram to Teton Village determined to get the RV across another state line by nightfall. Or someone like me setting off on the Teton Crest Trail, which is not a circular route. My point? There’s no feedback system in place here. The last person may very well have died.

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Mamma was a rolling stone

Like a man with a baby, when you’re a female travelling alone on a motorbike people will just come up and talk to you. Women will often say “brave lady” and men will coerce you into conversation with “nice bike”. When I was green as a new shoot I really thought a beaten-up FZR650 with a missing faring was a nice bike, until my exasperated younger brother spelt things out.

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United colours of Tasmania

I’ve heard it said that Cradle Mountain Huts Walk isn’t really doing the Overland Track. That if someone is carrying your food and you don’t need to haul a tent or bedding around, well, it’s just not the same is it? “You’re doing the cheats’ walk,” someone in our group is told in transit to Tasmania. I’m joining this pack of alleged frauds to experience, firsthand, the Cradle Huts version of tackling the iconic track.

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If this gorge could speak

As we overlooked the Kunderang Brook wilderness area he apologised repeatedly for the mist obscuring the signs of grazing that patterned the valley floor. It was what he particularly wanted us to see. I checked my ears for surplus wax. This was not what I expected to hear from a NSW Parks & Wildlife ranger. “I don’t want the history of those people to be forgotten just because it’s now declared wilderness.” He was talking about pastoralists. Was this Ranger Piers Thomas somewhat of a youngish radical? We were not even an hour into the Green Gully hike and already I knew that up ahead lay far more than flora and fauna.

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The sands of time

I arrive from Paris in Mauritania’s capital of Nouakchott, a city being slowly consumed by the Sahara Desert. The view from my aeroplane window of its suffocation is replicated at close range later in the day when I wander the backstreets in search of food. The almost-coastal air is as warm as the grains sifting through my thongs. The willowy laneway trees and easy exchange of French and Arabic greetings lull me into believing this city ­– in fact, the whole of this West African country – is a tranquil oasis. But I am deceived.

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A holiday by the beech

At Nelson Lakes National Park you’ll find more than just rushing rivers and alpine mountains, tussock fields and tarn-filled basins. Experience a whole new world of discovery as you walk through the awesome beauty of the park’s native beech forests. Forest sustained almost completely by life’s essential waste product. That’s right folks, we’re talking about excrement. It’s literally dripping from the trees here. Book your trip today!

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