Distance today: 38.1km
Distance total: 1053.3km
Time hiked: 13h 14min
Time total: 310h 36min
Today basically consists of two parts: Part 1 is to Te Kuiti, where I will resupply, Part 2 is along the Mangaokewa River.
And two make it short: Part 1 is a bit annoying. Hiking over rough pasture, from one stile to the next. Climbing over these dozens of stiles gets really tiring and make it impossible to get into a rhythm. There's some bush walking in between. Especially the first one is terrible: Slippery and steep - not much fun.
Luckily the last hill before Te Kuiti is a real pleasure. Steep, but walking on short, dry grass is so pleasant and the views are fantastic.
It's shortly before 1, when I arrive in Te Kuiti. Much later than I thought. Still, I need to resupply and get a new gas canister, before I can continue. It all takes me roughly 1.5 hours. Especially stowing food for 7 days is quite tricky. Still have to figure out, how I can carry food for 10 days once I hit some more remote parts further down south.
I don't now why, but I'm feeling a little groggy, not thinking straight. Already on the hike to Te Kuiti I missed some markers and on the way out of town towards the river it happens again. This time however, it takes some time to realize my mishap. I try to get back onto the trail, climbing over some fences. The last one, the trail is right on the other side, is way to high to climb over with my backpack. So everything back to where I went wrong. 4km, or more than an hour wasted. Shit.
At least while on my way back, I meet a cool guy, who hunts and fishes. He tell me there are some great fishing spots along the river and gives me some nylon and a hook. I should try it when I'm there.
What a lovely hike along the Mangaokewa Stream it is! Initially at least, when the well formed trail follows more or less directly along the river. Things get a little trickier once leaving the often hiked loop around the Reserve. After a few hundred meters I find myself more than knee deep in the mud while crossing a tiny little side stream. With a lot of effort I can escape from the mud!
The trail climbs away from the river several times. The slopes are steep and slippery - my worn-out Lunas not helping.
I guess I'll have to replace them tonight. They've done mostly great. Hiked nearly 2000km (in Switzerland and NZ) in this pair. Many of these kilometers in really difficult terrain.
It's shortly before 7, me somewhere far above the river in a steep slope, as the trail climbed away once again. No way to camp here. With sunset around half an hour away, I'm getting a little nervous.
Luckily the trail descends again. Nice pastures to camp but, with the forecasted rain and wind a little too exposed for me. So I continue. It's 7:20. If I don't find anything suitable within the next 10 minutes, I'd return and camp there in the grass.
I don't have to return though. A lovely pine forest with lots of room to pitch my tent and there's even a table in the middle of nowhere :)
The rain starts 5 minutes after setting up my tent. Good timing, isn't it?