Te Araroa Trail – Day 17

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Distance/ Total: 23.6 km / 14.7 mi

Due to the tide schedule today we will be unable to cross Taihariru Estuary until about 1:00 pm so it was a sleep in day and leisurely morning. I got out of my tent about 6:45 and fixed some hot coffee in the trail Angel’s studio they allowed us to use.

My gear was wet from dew this morning and I left things out to dry while we sat around and enjoyed a 2nd cup of coffee and some bars provided by Derrick and Ann. We sat on their back patio with a great view of the Horahora River Estuary below.

About 10:00 we started getting our gear together and soon started down the road back to the trail. The “trail” was once again a paved roadwalk with little traffic. We reached the Pautau bridge just before noon. The bridge is a walk bridge only which led to The small community of South Pautau where I stopped to eat lunch at a small park along the river.

The other hikers soon arrived and we enjoyed our lunch together. Finishing up we headed down the road another 2 km to the Taihariru Estuary. This crossing is 2.5 km which is partially sand at low tide, but was still mostly under water when we started. The TA had placed marker post along the route indicating the shallowest areas and I found myself in waist deep water when I wandered offline at one time.

Back on the line the water was only about mid-thigh deep and after a long slow walk in the water we reached the black- stinky mud through the mangrove once again at the end.

Taking some time to clean the mud from our legs and feet we finally got back on trail which once again was roadwalk for about 2.5 km and mostly uphill. Eventually the trail turned off onto a single track that led to the top of Kauri Mountain with a nice viewing platform and bench where I ate an afternoon snack.

The trail back down the mountain was mostly stair steps and well maintained and reaching a road it was a short 2 km walk down to Ocean Beach.

The remainder of the day was a 7 km walk down Ocean Beach. With the overcast skies and slight breeze the walk was quite enjoyable, yet long. The end of the beach walk involved some climbing over a rock outcropping and unfortunately I was a little too late to catch it at low tide and ended up getting my feet wet as I climbed through the rocks.

I reached camp about 7:00pm, set up my tent, fixed dinner, and took a shower ( yes a hot shower at this camp) before turning into my tent about 8:45. A fun, but challenging day that left my feet and legs pretty sore.

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