Te Araroa Trail – Day 129

Friday March 15, 2024
Distance/ Total: 27.5 km / 17.5 mi

It rained pretty hard last night. I could hear it on the metal roof of the hut from about 10:30pm and til about 5:00am. I’m sure glad we were in a hut for the night.

Shaun and I were up and ready to hike by 7:30am. We started hiking as soon as it was light enough to see the trail. The trail from Greenstone hut started with a short descent toward the river before beginning the ascent upwards. It was a gradual ascent and the trail was not as nice as it was yesterday. There were lots of rocks embedded in the trail that we had to step over.

We reached a clearing above the hut and were greeted with snowy white mountain peaks. The rain at our elevation had obviously been snow up higher.

The trail worked it ways through the forest with many micro ups and downs. In many of the dips there were mud puddles. At first I thought it was because of the rain overnight, but there were numerous footprints in the puddles meaning there was mud there most of the time.

We tried avoiding these puddles at first but ultimately ended up sinking in the mud and within several kilometers it was just a matter of walking through them finding the shallowest spots to cross. Occasionally I would guess incorrectly and end up sinking to mid shin in the mud.

The weather didn’t cooperate very well either. It wasn’t raining when we left the hut, but started up again soon after we left. It rained for a couple of hours before turning to snow for a few minutes. The sun tried to peak out at times, but was soon covered by clouds again.

The trail left the forest as we neared Taipo Hut and we were wading through a marsh up to our ankles. Not having a dry place to stop we pushed on to Taipo Hut to eat breakfast. There were a couple of other TA hikers at the hut and we were welcomed in to get out of the cold and rain.

Getting back on the trail we crossed the Mararoa River on a suspension bridge and began to get pelted by hail. A cold wind from the south (Antarctica) had picked up and was blowing directly into our faces. The weather was throwing everything it could at us.

The trail was now following the Mararoa River downstream over brush covered hills and open meadows. The ground was wet and soggy and we continued to walk through ankle deep mud and water. We reached the Boundary Hut about 4:00pm and continued on down the trail.

The trail now turned to a 4WD road that was potholed and full of mud puddles. We were able to walk around most, but in some instances had no choice but to walk through the water. We soon reached Carey’s Hut, our goal for the day, and we’re greeted by 3 ladies from Australia & New Zealand who were out for a 6 day section hike. They had a nice fire going in the fireplace and even “put on a kettle” for us when we arrived.

They had done a considerable amount of hiking and we had a nice evening talking to them and sharing hiking stories.

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