Te Araroa Trail – Day 119

Tuesday March 5, 2024
Distance/ Total: 34.1 km / 21.2 mi

We were up and on the trail pretty early this morning. We had a little rain on the hit last night, but looking out this morning we just barely escaped the snow. The frost line was just a few meters above Stody’s Hut.

The trail from the hut was on an abandoned 4WD road that we soon realized why it was abandoned when we came to a huge landslide that had taken out a section of the road. Beyond the landslide we could see where there had been some recent vehicle traffic. The trail climbed steadily uphill for about 400 meters then dipped back down as it crossed over toward Breast Hill.

It was another 300 meter climb up Breast Hill and we had some beautiful views of the snow covered peaks nearby. We reached the crest of Breast Hill on n time for breakfast and found a nice spot behind a large rock protrusion to get out of the wind.

After eating we climbed the the few meters to the true peak and could see the Lake Hāwea down below and some huge cliffs formed by a major rock upheaval.

From the top of Breast Hill the trail followed the edge of the upheaval as it slowly descended toward Pakituhi Hut. We passed by the hut and continued down the trail which was now following a ridgeline that extended toward Lake Hāwea.

The ridgeline was steep and involved some rock scrambles as it descended downwards. Reaching the end of the ridge and still over 300 meters above the river the trail started a series of switchbacks that led to a gravel road bordering the lake.

It was a short walk down the gravel road before we joined the Gladstone Track a gravel bike / walkway leading to the outlet of the lake – Hāwea River.

The Gladstone track led into Lake Hāwea Village. It was about 4:00pm and we still wanted to get another 12 km in for the day. We stopped and ate dinner at the cafe’ knowing we probably wouldn’t make it to Albert Town before all the restaurants were closed.

Back on the trail my plantar fasciitis was really hurting and I took a couple of Aleve to ease the pain. Within 30 minutes the pain was manageable and we made good time walking the Hāwea River Track to Albert Town.

We arrived shortly after 8:00pm and checked into the campground. As we were looking for a place to setup our tent Cassie & Keenan saw us and invited us to share their prime site close to the river. We setup our tents as darkness enveloped the campground and climbed in for the night.

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