Te Araroa Trail – Day 98

Tuesday February 13, 2024
Distance/ Total: 26.2 km / 16.3 mi

It was a cold morning this morning and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag. I finally forced myself to get up and noticed that the sandflies were gone. It must be too cold for them. However, when I crawled out of the tent it didn’t take long for them to reappear. I applied insect repellent and got on the trail about 7:30am.

The trail from camp was pretty flat with some small ups and downs through the forest areas. The trail walked along Sumner Lake (although I couldn’t see it through the trees). About 2km down the trail I came across a large grassy field at the head of Sumner Lake. What a great view. There were 3 tents still there at 8:30 – I’m not sure how many hikers stayed there last night. I continued on toward Hurunui Hut and got there about 10:00am. I took a short break and filled up my water bottles before continuing on.

About 5km past the hut I came to a hot pool up on the hillside. It had been built up around a waterfall and created a nice thermal pool. The water seemed extremely hot – probably 104 or hotter. I spent some time in the pool, but about 7-8 minutes was all I could handle. I got out and immediately became lunch for the sandflies – all my repellent had washed off. I reapplied insect repellent and ate lunch while my swimsuit dried.

Back on the trail it was another couple of hours to No. 3 Hut (I guess they ran out of names). I checked the topo map there and picked an area I thought might be flat enough to camp another 2-3 hours down the trail.

The trail continued like this morning, some ups and downs in the forest, some mud, and even some deadfall across the trail this afternoon. It would exit the forest on occasion and walk through meadows alongside the river. One of those meadows was were I hoped to camp tonight.

About 5:30 I reached the area I thought might be good and although it was a meadow, there was a lot of rocks in this meadow. I looked around and found a good spot nestled in some trees. It was pretty littered with limbs from the tree and I spent some time clearing out a spot for my tent. Of course the sandflies soon joined me and I was reapplying insect repellent once again.

I set up my tent, collected water, and cooked dinner. The air was cooling down quickly and I turned into my tent to clean up and get under my sleeping bag as it cooled down.

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