Distance covered today: 17km
Total TA distance: 154km
Today I had a wash in a culvert like all good hobo’s should.
Some overnight rain meant that pack up was a little damp this morning. I was out of water and needed to fill straight away. The track notes say load up with water for the day ahead and they weren’t wrong – there were very few water sources today.
On the trail by 7:30am, at 8:00am I run into an Isreali guy who had the same idea as me – get as far yesterday as possible and camp where you drop. Pleasantries exchanged I moved on and didn’t see him again. I was sure he would catch me.
Today was through the other notoriuos forest, the Raetea Forest, soon to be renamed by me as the Tough Mudder Forest. This forest needs respect and the descriptions for it certainly stack up. I only travelled 17km today and there is a really vaild reason – this forest is rough.
A mud infested jungle of unexpected proportions. Travel was slow, at times down to 1.5km an hour. Steep. Lots of straight ups and straight downs all day. Relentless. Thick, thick, shoe retaining mud. Not as deep as SW Tasmania but on par for difficulty.
I passed the french girls on the main ridgeline. The same two girls I warned to wait the rain out in Ahipara on Monday but who decided to travel on. They didn’t get far by the look of things – I’ve had a full extra rest day and I managed to catch up with them.
Now back to the track. If the Te Araroa didn’t pass through the Reatea Forest, no-one would ever visit, not even a crazy kiwi. There is nothing here other than a route from one end of the forest to the other. There are very few views along the way and it is basically a green corridor.
Roots and roots everywhere, making for difficult scrambling and slippage. Plus the vines, like lawyers, they have their lasso out trying to grab hold you with every move, trying to trip you up or tangle your pack.
It was a tough, tough day. Respect to the Reatea.
Exiting the true forest there was a 5km down hill section to contend with. Reaching this section I bumped into another couple from Canada. They let me go in front. This section was just as muddy and didn’t seem like it was going to end.By the time I reached the next road, Makene Road, I was beat. Blistered right heal having had wet socks all day and filthy, mud caked legs and shoes. On finding the first running water, in this case a culvert, I threw my shoes, socks and gaiters in for a wash and have a scrub down myself.
At 5 o’clock I was done. I found a nice cleared patch in a pine forest and set up camp.