Te Araroa Trail – Day 58
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Distance/ Total: 19.4 km / 12.1 mi
I rained through the night again, although mostly just a sprinkle. I didn’t want to get up and since the office was closed when I arrived last night, I had to go in at 8:00am and pay for my campsite.
I packed up my gear and went to the kitchen and visited with the other hikers to see what there plans were today. There were a few of us who wanted to hike the trail to National Park, but there was a warning about a stream crossing that could be dangerous in bad weather. Claudio (from Switzerland) and I decided to hike together in case the water was high.
We left right after 8:00am in a light sprinkle. The trail started on the Silva Rapids Track and it was near perfect. Well graded, nice wide surface, boardwalks and bridges over any obstacles. Unfortunately we were only in that trail for 1.6 km.
The trail turned off onto the Whakapapaiti Valley Track and although still in pretty good condition, not quite as pristine as the first. There were still nice boardwalks and bridges, but the trail was a little rough – tree roots, ruts, and some wash out gullies to climb up and down. We stopped for a snack about 10:00am and just as we finished the rain began.
It was a short distance from where we stopped to the next turn onto the Mangahuia Track. This was a try tramping track. The track went through several alpine bogs and the trail was mostly flooded and muddy. Steeper muddy descents and ascents, and very few bridges or boardwalks.
The rain had become pretty heavy and the trail was now a flowing stream as we continued on toward the stream we were concerned about being high in bad weather, I kept thinking that all this rain is now filling up the stream. Fortunately we reached the stream not too long after the rain started and although it was flowing fast it was only about knee deep and not very wide. We crossed without any trouble.
The next 2-3 km was just a walk through mud puddle after mud puddle. We worked to avoid the deep spots but were both covered in mud before reaching the end of the forest. The last 2 km of the trail had been improved with a gravel base and although flooded in many spots was at least clear water and not muddy.
We reached the Mangahuia Campsite about 12:30 and stopped under the covered kitchen area to grab another bite to eat before starting the 6km roadwalk into National Park.
The rain continued to be heavy as we slogged down the highway into town. Someone stopped and offered us a ride but we explained we were hiking the trail and would just walk into town. (It was in sight already anyways). We reached the town and stopped under the awning of the local gas station to shake off some of the water and check our phones to see where we were going. We had both booked rooms at different places in town.
I walked the block to the YHA hostel and checked into my room. I stripped out if my wet clothes and took a nice hot shower to heat myself up and wash off the mud still stuck in my shoes and socks.
I hung my wet gear around the room, ate my lunch, and tried to wash my clothes but the machines were in use.
I met Claudio for dinner at the bar and grill next door and discussed our plans for the next few days. Returning to the hostel I did my laundry and updated my blogs before turning in for the night.
* once again photos are limited due to the wet weather.