It's a climb that kicks harder than kava. Approaching the summit of Fiji's highest mountain, Mount Tomaniivi, deep inside cloud forest, the going is steep, muddy and convoluted.
There are boulders to scramble over, and tree roots splay through the air above the track. At times the only way through is to walk atop the roots as though they're some kind of elevated boardwalk
It's a climb that feels so remote as to be almost exploratory, except that our guide, Toto, is still clipping ahead easily in his gumboots, a machete dangling casually from one hand.
"This track is easy now," he says with a smile as we struggle on behind him. "Before Cyclone Winston, it was very difficult. There were so many trees here then."
Crowning Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, 1324-metre Mount Tomaniivi is little taller than the Blue Mountains or Hobart's Mount Wellington, but its slick slopes will make this the shortest yet toughest of the three days I spend hiking across Fiji's highlands with Talanoa Treks, the only company running multi-day hikes in Fiji.