Te Araroa – Day 53

Whakapapa Holiday Park to National Park (then Taumarunui) – 20km (1150km total)

It was a 20km walk in the morning into National Park where we were being picked up by the canoeing company and being taken back to Taumarunui to resupply before starting the canoeing section of the TA for the next week. We needed to make it into National Park by 11am when we were being picked up. That seemed doable 4 hours for 20km, easy. That was until the track notes were read and it said it takes 5-6 hours to do the first part of the walk which is 13.5km long. Then it is a 7km road walk into National Park.

Mt Ruapehu in the morning light

I forever the optimist and with a distrust of the Track Notes which always over estimate times, thought it was doable if we left at 6am. Consequently I and Y rolled at at 6am to start the walk, the others texted to say they were going to hitch as they did not think it was possible.

It was possible. The 13.5km took 3 hours. Ha, take that track notes! To be fair the start and the end of the walk were on lovely tracks that were easy. The middle section was through a marsh and then a rooty forest and if it had been raining this section would have taken a lot more time, but it had been fine weather, so while it slowed us down a bit, it wasn’t much. The worst was the tussock grass. It is so long and covers the path which is very uneven, you often didn’t know if you were stepping into a hole or not. There were a few times I misjudged and slid down onto a knee (I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve fallen, I think it is up around 17 times now and a gazillion skids). There was also one section that looked like wet grass/moss which I walked across, only to find myself knee deep in a watery muddy hole. Good times.

Road walking with an amazing background.

The mornings walk was actually quite lovely, even with the middle section. Then it was a short walk into town. Arriving at 10.15am Bam, take that track notes. We joined the others who had been sending us photos of coffees and baked goods saying how hard they had worked that morning to earn it! πŸ˜‚ Y and I who truly earned it, also bought drinks and baked goods and enjoyed the morning sun as we waited for the Canoe Company to pick us up.

Today I am thankful for lovely morning views.

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