Te Araroa Trail – Day 7
Sunday, November 5, 2023
Distance/ Total: 17.5 km / 10.9 mi
Today is going to be a tough hiking day so Lupi and I are getting an early start. We were packed up and ready to go by 6:30 am. The first km of the trail was more road walk and then the fun began.
The trail started to climb upward immediately and soon began to get muddy. The mud on the trail was slick and would be mid-calf deep in places. We worked to stay out of the deeper mud. It was kind of like playing “the floor is lava” as we jumped from tree root to tree root and rock to rock.
Between the mud and the steep climb we took 3 hours to reach the first peak which was only 6.1 km down the trail. We stopped in a clearing near a radio tower and ate 2nd breakfast before continuing on.
The next 3 kms was a series of ups and downs as the trail followed the ridge line across 3 peaks. There was a good view near the radio tower, but the trail was buried in the trees the rest of the way.
Once we reached the last of the 3 peaks the trail began descending back to the valley floor. This is when the trail got even muddier. Up to this point we had been able to go around most of the deep spots but on the descent the trail was narrower and we were forced to walk through some deeper mud. At times the mud would try to suck the shoe off your feet and it took special care to pull the shoe back up through the mud.
As I worked my way down the muddy mountain my knee began to hurt and I slowed down my pace help protect my knee. After 9 hours hiking in the muddy forest we exited out into a field behind a farm.
We followed the trail out to Makene Road and circled around a house with 2 dogs barking ferociously at us. Finally on the road we had about a 1 km hike down to our campground for the night where Will and Toby had already arrived.
Hot, tired, and muddy I immediately headed to the shallow river to sit down in the cool water and wash the mud off me and my clothes. After a thorough cleaning I hung up my wet clothes, setup my tent and grabbed a snack for the afternoon.
Dinner approached about 5:30 and I fixed another delicacy of ramen noodles and tuna for the night. As the evening progressed several other hikers arrived and we ended up with 8 campers for the night.
With everyone’s muscles sore from the day’s hike we turned in about 8:00pm to let our muscles rest up for another day of hiking tomorrow.