Distance today: 21.5km
Distance total: 1757.7km
Time hiked: 10h 35min
Time total: 499h 00min
From the Center to the trail head leading into the Tararua Ranges, it's a 4 kilometer road walk - the last road section for a few days. Hurray!
My shin feels a little sore but lnothing more. I decide to carry on and climb up to Waiopehu Hut. 800 vertical meters. A steep and extremely muddy climb.
My hope: less mud once above the bush line. Unfortunately I have to realize it just gets worse. At least the weather is lovely and the views great. At the Waiopehu Hut, which I reach at around noon I take a short rest, before continuing to Matawai Hut. A continuous up-and-down for 6 kilometers, total ascent 500m, descent 600m. Initially through tussocks and mud then back into the bush again. Denis, a Czech guy, is overtaking me - taking me by surprise as I really wasn't expecting anyone behind. Denis rested in Levin for a few days before entering the Ranges today. Very smart and I start to regret that I haven't done the same. As especially the descents start to cause more and more pain to my shin. I need to slow down and Denis is out of sight in no time.
The last two hours are on a really nice, mostly dry track. Steep, not muddy though. What a relief after 8 hours in the mud.
Shortly before reaching the Matawai Hut I stumble across Rose and Dylan doing yoga on a helipad and enjoying the afternoon sun. These guys are so chill ;)
Beside Denis and the American siblings Hannah is here as well, looking after the very welcomed fire. She stayed with me at the Outdoor Center last night, but took the shortcut to the hut.
There's a great, relaxed atmosphere in the warm hut. Hannah and the other have fun playing card games. I'm not really in the mood to join them tough - the pain in my shin worries me too much.