Te Araroa Trail – Day 9
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Distance/ Total: 20.4 km / 12.7 mi
I tried to sleep in a little but was wide awake by 6:00am. I slowly got around and visited with some of the hikers before heading out on the trail about 7:30.
The trail started with a gradual downhill grade which eventually became steeper and very muddy. I struggled to keep my balance as I slid down the hill at some points. Finally reaching the Mangapukahukahu Stream I was able to wash the mud off before continuing down the trail in the middle of the stream.
The next 2.5 km the trail was the stream bed and I zig-zagged from side to side avoiding the deepest sections. The water was cold and my feet were numb as I proceeded down the stream. It finally emptied into the Waipapa River which ended the stream walk.
Crossing the Waipapa River the trail followed the river on a narrow, muddy track cut into the side of the slope. At places the track would turn straight up the slope and then come back down. The surface was slick and only wide enough for 1 foot in some places.
After a few kilometers the trail turned away from the river and began an ascent to the Pukatea Ridge Track. This trail was in much better condition and included numerous steps and a gravel footpath in spots.
About 12 km into the day, the track came to a forest road and continued on the road to the Puketi Hut Campsite. I reached the campsite about 2:30 and took advantage at the cold showers while I was still hot from the days walk.
Other hikers arrived throughout the afternoon and to my surprise Punisher whom I met at the Florida Trail days in 2022 arrived into camp. We all talked trails, and plans for the next few days and turned in as the sun sunk in the sky.