We packed up and set off around 0750. While the day was not long distance-wise, it was supposed to be fairly hard tramping today. We ended up doing just over 20 km in around 9 hours (including stops). The GPS track for the day is here.
A short walk saw us back on the track proper. We were starting at around 800m asl and knew that the first half of the day involved about 8 km to get up to Mt Wereroa at around 1090m asl. I didn't mention it in yesterday's blog but we were, of course, walking right in the middle of the roar - so deer hunters were out in force in the forest looking to bag one. Because of this, we wore our bright orange ZPacks rainjackets irrespective of the weather!! Luckily it wasn't too hot as I get hot and sweaty pretty quickly!
The track was reasonably challenging in places, with it still being boggy in places as well as involving some occasional steep ups and downs. As the GPS track shows, we ended up climbing about 800m and descending 1000m even though we only ended up 200m lower than we started! The bush was similar to yesterday with mixed bush at lower levels and thinning out at higher altitudes (e.g. up Mt Wereroa).
I have included a selection of "jungle" shots, from the start of the journey heading towards Mt Wereroa, below!!
We reached Mt Wereroa summit about 1100 and stopped for a smoko break. We also had some cellphone reception and had a few messages we had to follow up so stopped initially for 30 minutes or so. Just as we were about to head off again we heard a voice saying "hi"!! This was Flo (Florian) a German nobo. We had a great chat with Flo for about an hour!! He hadn't seen anybody for a while as we are very late to be sobo, so we were all in need of company!! We have invited him to come and stay with us after he has finished at Cape Reinga. So, hoping to see you later in May/June Flo!!
Then it was off down the hill again and off towards Waihaha Hut. The rest of the day was a mixture of OK tracks with the usual mud and some steep and gnarly bits. There was also a lot of fern regrowth that we had to push through - this made us keep our rain skirts on much of the day as otherwise the shorts would be drenched!
The descent down from Wereroa was pretty rough with some steeper bits heavily rutted by water flows - so some care was required in places. We also came across a couple of spots where hunters had obviously camped out in their hunt for deer in the area. About 3km from the hut we came across what was probably one of our steepest descent/ascent patches to date - always a bugger when these come towards the end of the day!! At a similar time we also passed a major milestone - the nominal TA 1000km mark!!!!!!
The hut seemed to take forever to appear - it was one of those days!!! But it was a nice, modern hut that greeted us in the clearing. There were also a young couple from Taupo there for the weekend (its only a 3 hr walk in from Western Bays Rd) and they already had a fire started. I helped by sawing up some more wood for later - at least we had a hand saw and axe at this hut - although dry wood was in short supply in these conditions. Later on a couple of Irish pig hunters, Tom and Mick, arrived with their dog (Bailey - named after the Irish Cream!). One lived in NZ and the other was a friend visiting from Ireland - good way to spend a holiday!!
It was good having some company for a change but, as usual, everyone was in bed reasonably early. The pig hunters and us were both looking to head away at a reasonable hour in the morning!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!