Te Araroa – Day 9

Camp at km 138 to Makene Rd Campsite – 16 km (154 km total)

Times Fallen = 7, Times nearly fell but skated and skid like the 90’s rollerblading pro I am = a gazillion (no exaggeration) 😉

Raetea Forest = Muddy Death Pit of Type 2 Fun

We had been told that Raetea was taking people 12 hours to walk and because I went into the Forest with that expectation, it was actually kind of fun. The majority of the track was so muddy that I was only doing 1km per hour through the majority of it. It ended up taking me just over 11 hours to complete, with only a couple of 5 minute breaks.

Fashun part 2 – While it wasn’t raining the track is so thin at points you brush up against very wet bushes, so the very fashionable garbage bag skirt helped keep me dry for at least part of the day

Earlier in the season a hiker had become lost in Raetea and needed to be rescued. Despite being well marked most of the time, I totally understand how that could happen. There are numerous fallen trees in the forest, cutting off the marked path, so people have bushed whacked around them. It was at these points that I had to stop because I was off the beaten path and think ‘where to next’ to get back to the actual path and it often wasn’t the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance looked good for a while and then it lead to nothing.

A beautiful view at one of the rare view points

The few photos I took today do not highlight the true muddy magnitude of the forest because I was not going to pull my phone out to take photos at those points. The highlights were, wading through mud up to knee deep, trying to pull your foot out of said mud and feel your shoe stay. Muddy declines so steep, it looks like the only way down is sit on your butt and go for a slip and slide.

Mud

I fell 6 times in the mud, four of them were not bad, just slips over onto a knee in the mud, but two were complete falls onto my butt in the mud. This doesn’t seem like an impressive start to this hike but I am taking it as a win because I lost count of the amount of times I should have fallen but remained upright like a nimble cat.

What the track was like 10% of the time, 90% was muddier and steeper

There were sections of the track (i.e. when the photos were taken) when I would think this is great and get a bit of speed up, but within 50m it always went back to a mud pit. However, probably the most demoralizing is on the way down. You reach a section that levels out and is wet and slightly muddy, but mostly a nice grass track and I thought, ‘yes, it’s like this for the rest of the way’ but it only lasts for a km and then the next two are back to knee deep mud or steep muddy declines.

Overall it was a lot of fun, but I am happy to wait a bit before the next mud pit of a forest.

The sweet relief to finally see this 11 and a bit hours later

Today, I am thankful for running water in a stream to wash all of the mud off of me.

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