Te Araroa Trail – Day 33

Friday, December 1, 2023
Distance/ Total: 34.0 km / 21.1 mi

I didn’t rush around this morning. It was going to be a long day – 34 km – but the first 21 km was going to be all roadwalk. I didn’t get started down the trail until about 8:00am.

The first 21 km went pretty fast and I reached the Hakarimata walkway about 1:30 pm. The sign said 12.5 km and 7.5 hours to get to the other end. That seemed pretty slow despite the elevation gain and I dismissed it thinking I could do much better.

The first 1.5 km was graded as a “walking trail”. It had a gravel base, gradual inclines and lots of stair step to reach the upper overlook. I made it to the top in 40 minutes. I was blowing away the estimated times.

From there the trail turned into a “tramping track” which seems to mean roots, rocks, mud, steep (near vertical at times) ascents / descents and absolute no indication of a trail but the orange triangles stapled to trees. The next 8 km took me 4.5 hours. Fortunately the weather had been mostly dry for several days and the mud was not a big issue. The roots and steep ascents/ descents it what slowed me down. Somewhere in this tangled mess of roots I passed the 750 km mark – 1/4 of the way thru the Te Ararat’s. Just 2,250 km to go!

I reached the lookout tower above Nguruawahia, climbed to the top and took a few minutes to take in the view and cool off. Then it was all downhill to the town. 367m (1204 ft) and 1496 stair steps over 2 km to the base of the mountain.

It was just a short walk to the Richelle’s house (a trail angel who lets hikers camp in her yard). I set up my tent and Richelle had prepared a nice (large) dinner for the 7 hikers who were staying there. It was the first home cooked meal I’ve had in over a month and it was delicious.

After dinner everyone retired to their tents for the night as it was already getting close to hiker midnight (9:00 pm)

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