Te Araroa Trail – Day 56
Friday, December 29, 2023
Distance/ Total: 28.1 km / 17.5 mi
It started raining about midnight and continued on until this morning. knowing it was supposed to rain all day I wasn’t too anxious to get up and out into it.
I forced myself up and packed up all my gear inside my tent. I then crawled out and packed up my tent in the rain. It seemed like it weighed an extra pound this morning with all tbe water on it.
The trail continued on a gravel road and was pretty easy going for the first 8 km. I then came to the slide area – an area about 100 meters wide where the road had been washed away by a landslide. There was a flagged route through the slide and tree debris and in dry weather it would have been easy to navigate. However, in the rain it was a muddy slippery slope. I made my way gingerly across and had a couple of slips where I was able to keep from sliding down tbe mountain due to my trekking poles. I was relieved to be back on the gravel road on the other side.
There was another 4 km of good gravel road, then the trail turned off onto the Cokers Track – a narrow, steep, and rutted 4×4 track through the forest. Today’s rain just made the track worse as the water formed streams down the steep trail and flooded the track in the low areas.
The rain continued throughout the day, sometimes just a mist and at others a down pour. It was too wet to try to stop for lunch so I just pushed on. The Coker Track had several stream crossings with the Mangatepopo Stream having swollen out of its banks and turning about 100’ of trail into a fast flowing river. I waded up tbe rocky river/trail and reached the main channel. it was flowing fast but didn’t appear to be too deep so I made my way slowly across the mid-thigh deep stream.
Continuing up and doen the steep rutted trail, I finally reached a flatter area near the end of tbe trail. Unfortunately flat now meant puddles – lots of them and some 50-100’ long. I was already wet from the rain and stream crossings so I made my way tbrough the deep puddles looking for the shallowest areas to walk.
I finally reached the end of the trail and a paved road about 2:30. A quick 7 km walk on the paved road brought me to Tongariro Holiday Park where I walked in and asked for a cabin – I needed somewhere to dry out tonight and my tent was still soaked.
Reaching my cabin, I dug out my sleep clothes and towel and headed to the showers. It felt great to get out of my wet clothes and into a hot shower. After the shower, I finally ate lunch, washed my clothes, and hung up my tent to dry.
As I was doing this I saw Andi. He had arrived here yesterday, but took a zero day today because of the rain. We talked and visited with other hikers who stayed here due to rain and who hiked in today. It looks like we’ll have a big crowd hoing over Tongariro Mountain tomorrow.
* Mot many pictures today – touchscreen phones are almost impossible to use in the rain.