Te Araroa Trail – Day 48

Thursday, December 21, 2023
Distance/ Total: 44.8 km / 27.8 mi paddling

Andi and I got a relatively early start this morning. We were the 2nd canoe out of the camp at 7:30 am. We had a long day today and wanted to get started in time to also hike out to the Bridge to Nowhere.

We stopped just before the 1st campsite to eat some breakfast on a nice gravel bank. Back in the canoe it was another hour down to Mangapurua Landing, the beginning of the trail to the Bridge to Nowhere. The sign was positioned to be seen from downstream and we passed the landing before seeing the sign. We tried to turn around, but were caught in the current and couldn’t paddle upstream.

I decided to step out onto some rocks and pull the canoe upstream out of the current. When I stepped out onto the rocks, I slipped and fell into to river. Now in water over my head, I swam back to the rocks and climbed out, this time successfully. Andi had also jumped out and we pulled the canoe upstream to calmer water. Loading ourselves back into the canoe we were able to paddle back upstream to the landing and climb out.

We tied up our canoe and headed up the trail. There was a covered bench shortly up the trail and we stopped there to eat lunch with another couple of paddlers. After eating we walked the 2.7 km to the Bridge to Nowhere. It is so named because the government spent an enormous amount of money to build a bridge to a relatively small remote community of farmers who had all abandoned their farms before the bridge was finished. Nice new bridge for a community that no longer existed. It now gets more visitors on some days than the population of the community it was built for.

Back at the canoe we loaded back up without incident and started down the river. We paddled on another couple of hours and stopped again on a gravel bar to eat a snack and swim in the warm water. The water felt great and it was getting really hot in the mid-day sun.

By now the river had began pooling up for several kilometers, there would be a short rapid and then another pool. Paddling through these pools was hard and hot work followed by just a few seconds of excitement.

We finally reached our campsite – Nguporo campground- about 5:00. We pulled our canoe up onto the gravel bank, tied it off, then unloaded our gear up the hill to the campsite. Similar to last night there was about 16-18 paddlers here camping (no hut this time). We ate dinner visited for awhile then turned in about 9:00 pm to get rested up for another day of paddling tomorrow.

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