Te Araroa Trail Day 37. Pirongia summit 848.4kms – km 871.2

Te Araroa Trail Day 37 - Mount Priongia Views

Te Araroa Trail Priongia

I had a pretty bad sleep last night at the Pahautea hut, mostly due to being allergic to the perfume-drenched shirt the lady in the bunk above hung up on our bed 🙁

I woke at 5.45 am to find numerous people had arrived at the hut in the night and were sleeping on the floor! Anja, Markus and I were out by 6.45 am after a quiet breakfast.

Next time I’ll be careful before singing the virtues of mud and climbing. After the glorious ascent of Mount Pirongia yesterday, came the tedious descent today. The first part of the track was along the Noel Sanford boardwalk to the Hihikwi summit – Noel, thank you so much, your boardwalk is amazing!! Great views from the summit (905m).

Te Araroa Trail Noel Sandford Boardwalk Mount Pirongia
Te Araroa Trail Day 37 – Noel Sandford Boardwalk Mount Pirongia

Hihikiwi Track – MUD!

The next 3.5 hours were spent descending the Hihikwi track – climbing over tree roots, precariously balancing on walking poles, avoiding lots of bog, slipping down rocky outcrops and generally getting narky. I was asked on Friday what the worst bit of the trail was… This was it for me so far. We’ve had worse mud & worse descents, but it was windy & cold and just not very nice. On the plus side, there were lots of birds in the forest.

Te Araroa Trail Views to Kawhia harbour
Te Araroa Trail Day 37 – Views to Kawhia harbour

Beautiful Waikato

The rest of the day more than made up for it by being glorious! The sun came out and the track gave some splendid views of Kawhia harbour and the rolling hills of the Waikato.

10km before camping for the night we had to get water from the stream (there are none where we will camp) so I had to carry an additional 1.5kgs water – which doesn’t sound like a lot, but makes it pretty hard going. We wild camped on a flat grassy piece of land by an old farm road, with sweeping views over a pretty farmland valley dotted with sheep. Very nice!! At 6.30 Luzia & Jan (German) passed through.. They were to camp 4kms further on.

Te Araroa Trail Day 37 - Beautiful Waikato wild camp
Te Araroa Trail Day 37 – Beautiful Waikato wild camp

Quick update on the ailments:

  • Blisters (from walking 25kms in running shoes the other day) are ok & not giving me any trouble.
  • Suspected eye infection or extreme hayfever began last week – slightly troubling, itchy & gunky. I’m using eye drops for dry eyes every 5kms, which at least keeps most of the gunk away.. But my (monthly leave-in) contact lenses aren’t happy, and I didn’t bring my glasses (too heavy). Might have to rethink that one.
  • Bizarre acne on nose… grrrr.. think due to my new/thicker sunscreen. Hideous.

There are 2 days left before I can get to a pharmacy for my eyes. There were no washing facilities tonight either as water is scarce.. anyway it’s a beautiful evening & the sun is shining, things could be a lot worse !

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