Te Araroa Trail – Day 86
Thursday February 1, 2024
Distance/ Total: 17.1 km / 10.6 mi
I was up and on the trail by about 7:00am this morning. The Mid Wairoa hit was down in a narrow valley with steep mountains on both sides. The trail followed the valley upstream. The trail was mostly cut on the side of the mountain, but rocks and steep cliffs caused it to be on some steep ledges as well.
The trail climbed up the side of the mountain and then would drop down to the stream bed and continue on the rocky shore for some distance. Over the first 2km it crossed the stream about 8 times. I slipped near the shore and lost one of my trekking poles in the stream. I watched it float very quickly downstream and tried to chase after it, but it was much faster than me. The stream went into a narrow canyon with no shore and I knew it was futile to pursue any further.
The views along the stream were fantastic. The stream flowed over many cascades and waterfalls and wound through wide rocky stream beds and deep narrow canyons. Between the great views and the challenging terrain this was a fantastic area to hike.
I arrived at Top Wairoa Hut about 11:30 and went inside to sign the log book. Someone had left a trekking pole behind so now I’m back to 2 poles. The trail from the hut started out as a steep climb, but turned to a gradual ascent after some time. It was all above tree line and the afternoon sun was getting hot. As I got higher on the mountain I started getting a breeze and it helped cool things down a lot.
I reached the ridgeline and tried to call my mom to wish her a happy birthday. I didn’t get an answer. The trail continued along the top of the mountain and I was able to try again about 45 minutes later and got to talk to her and my dad.
From here the trail descended down into the Motueka River Valley. It was mostly rock with little vegetation and I soon reached the river below. It was wide but split into separate channels and I was able to cross without getting my shoes wet at the end of the day.
The hut was only 1/2 kilometer from the river, but 110m (350’) of ascent. I reached the hut about 5:00pm and there were still bunks left available. I claimed one, cleaned up, and changed into camp clothes. The sandflies were thick here and I applied repellent to keep them at bay.
By dinner time the hut was getting full and we all ate dinner and talked about our day and our plans for tomorrow. Rain is in the forecast and some are going to try to push ahead and make it into town Saturday. I’m still planning for Sunday. As hiker midnight approached everyone settled in and climbed into their bunks for the night.