Pahautea Hut to Omarama – 28km (833km total)
Pirongia Forest is the first forest I’ve been in during this trip, that has been set up well for hikers. There is a range of tracks in the forest and several camp grounds and a hut. A points there were even boardwalks. Which is what there was first thing in the morning leaving Pahautea Hut. Boardwalk all the way to Hihikiwi Summit. Then the mud began. However, it wasn’t as bad as some of the photos I had seen on instagram of thigh deep mud. Knee deep was a bad as it got and I kept my shoe on today! The descent of 5km took just over 3 hours.
The rest of the day was road walking mainly on gravel roads. Which was a nice reprieve from the mud. At lunch time I tried to duct tape my shoes. However, it failed. Within a few km the duct tape had come off. Hopefully in Te Kuiti I can get more duct tape and try again. The problem with the hole is that mud gets in which normally, I’d just put up with, but I have discovered that having mud in your shoe makes them deteriorate even faster and I need these to last until Taumarunui in 200km when I get my new shoes.
As the day went on the roads got smaller and smaller until we were on a farm track and then a forest track. There was 2km to go until a suggested area in the forest where it was possible to camp and then the mud started again. 😔 My shoes had dried out from the mornings mud fest and I was hoping to keep them dry, but no such luck. I rolled into camp with wet muddy shoes. Because that is the Te Araroa.
Today I am thankful for Backcountry Huts.