I got an early start today and was ready with my very best ‘pick me up’ smile at 7am for a hitch on the road to Mossburn. Te Araroa trail started approx 30km East of Te Anau. By 7.45am I hadn’t had a sniff of a lift, so I googled buses out of town. There was an InterCity leaving for Mossburn at 8am, so I bought a ticket online and hurried back into town to catch it. I explained to the driver that I didn’t want to go all the way to Mossburn and he kindly dropped me off at the Princhester road turnoff at about 8.20am.
From there it was a nice flat 6km gravel road walk to the start of the Takitimu track. It took 1.5 hours to walk the road section to Princhester hut, crossing fields with sheep and cows. From Princhester hut, the trail climbed up through nice beech forest. There were hundreds of cobwebs across the path, and I think my face caught most of them! I got to the top of the saddle by 11am and was accompanied alongthe way by numerous vocal fantails.
I passed 4 NOBOs around 11.30am, and and at midday I met Susie and Joe, the Kiwi section hikers (going NOBO this time) who I’d met in the Tararuas. They were on their penultimate day of the trail!
The beech forest turned into tussock, then forest again and continued that way for the rest of the day. Again it was a little frustrating to walk through the tussock. Sometimes hard and rocky underfoot, sometimes spongy, a little bog/mud, a few streams, and then there were the constant little ups and downs.
To quote Frances’s (Canada) hut book entry from 14/01/18 “this track is like having sex for the first time – rough, bumpy and awkward & everyone’s pretending to have a good time”. I actually found today pretty hard going. It wasn’t difficult, but I was just having one of those days, plus it was another super hot day, up near 30 degrees again. Plus there was the added annoyance of lots of big fat flies buzzing around.
I reached Aparima hut at around 4.30pm, set up my tent to dry it out (from this morning’s dew) and immediately went to look for the swimming hole. All the NOBOs had mentioned it. Approx 300m away from the hut was a little swingbridge. Beneath it was a little gorged section, some mini rapids and the most perfect swimming hole with room to actually swim!! The water was so warm it was like a swimming pool! I swam for about 30 minutes and had a bit of a wash.
Back at the hut I hung all my wet clothes up to dry and had an early dinner. As incredible luck world have it, I had this lovely little hut all to myself for the night – no-one else arrived!! The first time this has happened on the trail