Te Araroa Trail – Day 50
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Distance/ Total: 33.2 km / 20.6 mi paddling
Another early morning. It seems hikers can’t sleep past about 5:30am and everyone is up and moving around. It was still a slow morning and Andi and I were loaded up and ready to go about 7:45am. It wasn’t a big day and we weren’t in a hurry.
The water today was much slower with only about 6-7 rapids and large pools between them. Even the rapids were pretty mild and we made it through without any difficulty.
The sun was out today and very hot. We tried to paddle in the shade of trees where we could but by mid-day there were no shadows left on the river. Andi and I took a long lunch under a shade tree on a gravel bar and we both dozed off while resting there. It wasn’t a long nap, but it felt good in the shade.
Back on the river it was about 10km to the campsite and we pushed through the heat of the day to get there. Splashing water on ourselves helped cool us off, but didn’t last long.
We reached the Hipango campsite about 2:30 and weren’t sure where to land or tie up the canoes. As others arrived we decided on the best spot (which wasn’t great) and parked our canoes on some muddy rocks.
Climbing up the steep banks we hauled our gear up to a dirt road and then further up the hill to the campground. It was a large grassy field with several picnic tables and I selected a spot along the tree line where I would get some evening shade.
The campsite had a large shelter and we spent the day under cover from the searing sun and talked about hiking, cultural differences, and just about anything that came to mind.
As the sun began to set we turned into our tents for the night. We have reached a part of the river that is affected by the tidal flows and we are planning to leave about 10:30 am tomorrow to ride the lowering tide out to Whanganui. It will be a very late start for this group.