Aitevarri to 1km short of Sieimahytta
I did not know what to expect of the gorge. Would it be touristy? How are the trails? Well, a few minutes after arriving down there, three hikers without much gear cross my path on a technically challenging part of the trail. No backpack, no nothing. So far away from everything. Strange.
A few meters further down three fishermen set up camp. When they see me passing by, they invite me for coffee. Sweet! I kind of get stuck there talking to these guys. It's also where I learn that there are boats taking tourists up the river. Explains the other hikers without much gear.
Eventually, I continue through pine forest, which unfortunately soon gives way to birch forest shortly after crossing a scary wobbly bridge. The views of mighty waterfalls along the way are impressive.
The track gets increasingly overgrown. In fact, it's a Te Araroa flashback when I plow my way through dense fern, only centimeters from the eroded river bank. Still, below the fern or grass, the hiking track is in great shape, making progress not as bad as I initially feared. Something, I'm really glad about as it takes me a long while until I finally find a good campspot, nicely overlooking the river.
Disappointment of the day: my Luna sandals. I'm trying out there new sandal and after just 400km, a strap gets ripped out while crossing a screw field. I was taken completely off guard. Could have ended ugly. After a temporary fix I continue. Unfortunately, I don't come far as another strap brakes loose.
Something I expect from a sandal bought for 5 dollars at the night marked in Luang Prabang but not from a 100 dollar hiking sandal.