Te Araroa Trail – Day 109

Saturday February 24, 2024
Distance/ Total: 37.5 km / 23.3 mi

I woke about 6:30am and started moving my gear outside the hut to pack up. Shaun was already up and packed and started down the trail early.

I packed up and was a few minutes behind him. The trail left the hut and followed the valley on a 4WD road. The road stayed in the bottom of the valley and I made pretty good time to the next hut where Shaun was finishing his breakfast.

We continued down the 4WD road for another kilometer or two and the trail turned off and headed up a ridge and then descended back down to meet up with the same road again, cutting off a couple of kilometers around the mountain.

On this side of the mountain the wind was really blowing hard and I stopped and ate my breakfast behind a sign. The trail continued on a 4WD road for several more kilometers then joined a gravel road for about 4 kilometers. The winds continued through the day and seemed to get stronger in the afternoon or as we got nearer to the Rangitata River.

Leaving the gravel road the trail once again followed a 4WD track towards Clearwater Lake. Climbing a hill we reached an nice overlook of the lake below and then began descending towards it. The trail didn’t actually go to the lake, but passed near the shoreline and began heading down the valley toward Potts River. As we made our way down the trail it began to rain and we donned our rain gear which we ended up wearing the rest of the day. There were lots of small ups and downs through this area as the trail continued. The rain never got really hard, but was enough to soak ourclothes if we didn’t wear our rain gear. The rain gear was hot, but the strong winds, which were blowing rain in our faces, helped keep us from getting to hot.

Reaching Potts River the trail turned and followed the shoreline downstream and gradually worked its way down to the river bed. The last couple of kilometers was along the gravel riverbed and I ended up crossing Potts River twice before reaching the trailhead. Shaun, who walks faster than me, was there waiting for my arrival and we discussed wether to try our luck at hitchhiking or heading to Mt. Potts Lodge to get out of the rain. We started the 3 km walk to the lodge.

We arrived at the lodge about 6:00pm and checked in. Dinner was only served until 6:30 so we threw our packs in the room and headed for dinner. We both had a nice porterhouse steak smothered in mushrooms with fries and a salad. A great way to end a wet day.

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