Toko Corner Rd to Makahika Centre – 33km (1526km total)
Today was the longest day in the history of the world! Surely, there is no exaggeration 😉. It was almost Raetea Forest 2.0. On paper it was only a 33km day. However, my Strava recorded it as 40km. Admittedly, when you are in tree cover and in airplane mode, the GPS isn’t completely accurate, but usually only by 1km over that distance not 6km. So lets split the difference and say it was 36km day.
They day started out easy on forestry roads for a few km before turning off onto a tramping track – Burton’s Track. It is named after a guy who lived in the area by himself for years back in the early mid 1900’s. He built himself a swing bridge across the river and crossing it one day it broke and he plunged 8m. He then managed to walk 12 hours to help (but not before feeding his dogs) but later died in hospital of his injuries. That was a fun little story wasn’t it!? That is the sort of thing we are treated to on information boards on tracks. Not the most helpful story to read when you are in the middle of nowhere.
The track started off a bit muddy but then got better and the 15km track was done by mid morning. The track came out onto a road where someone had set up a shed with tables and chairs. The perfect place for a break. It was then on to do the 18km Makahika Track. The first bit was easy on back roads before again turning off on a tramping track. Even this was easy for a tramping track for the first couple of km, then the mud started. It wasn’t deep mud like Raetea or Pirongia, but it didn’t let up and was consequently slow and exhausting.
By the time I got to the summit, this was the emoji to best describe me 😡 and I still had to make it down. The track down was only slightly better and once at the bottom followed the creek and crossed it multiple times. Crossing a creek is fun until you have to do it 20 times, then you get a little over it.
Eventually I made it out of the forest and slowly hobbled my way to an outdoor centre that allowed hikers to stay. This place is amazing. Hot showers, an outdoor tent to sleep in with tables and cooking facilities. Plus the owners gave me a beer and banana on arrival. That is the way to my heart, fruit 🍌 and beer which I don’t usually like, but I think this was girly beer with citrus in it, and it was great.
The weather for the next few days doesn’t look great. Tomorrow is ok, then the next has 80km winds (that’s the day we would be on the ridge line at 1800m, no bueno). Then the days following that are meant to be cloudy but less windy. So the plan is to hike up to the first hut tomorrow. Then wait out the weather at the hut and hopefully in two days time cross the ridge line in less windy weather.
Today I am thankful for amazing places to stay and the amazing people you meet hiking.