Distance today: 15.6km
Distance total: 2149.4km
Time hiked: 8h 50min
Time total: 640h 52min
Another bitterly cold morning, another sweet climb to warm up before a rather annoying sidling around Bushy Top on a hardly formed track. Luckily, the trail joins a ridge and descends down to Wairoa River. The further down I descend, the louder the roaring of the river. An impressive swing bridge takes me over the steel blue river and to Mid Wairoa Hut, where I have a short break. Before the sandflies are eating me alive, I continue upstream to Top Wairoa Hut.
"Some trampers will find this section challenging" - say the trail notes and I am sure one of them! Especially the sidling and scrambling on steep terrain with vertical drops left or right (depending on which side of the river I am) doesn't make me feel particularly comfortable.
All 8 crossings are fun though and my feet and legs love the cooling water.
The last catapults me into a completely different landscape. From dense bush to rocky, open country with some scrubs and lots of tussock within seconds. Simply amazing!
5 bunk, orange Top Wairoa is just a short climb up a rocky slope away. I grab one of the 2 remaining bunks. It's going too be crowded in here tonight!