Te Araroa Trail – Takitimu Tops
Today was shaping up to be a biggie, with lots of ups and downs leading me up and over the Takitimu Tops.
I had a great sleep all alone in Aparima hut. I had hung up my food bag as I had read about mice in the hut, but didn’t hear a thing all night! I was up and out by 7am.
It was a breezy morning on the little terrace the hut was situated on. The trail started off through marshland, then into beech forest. To be honest I’m a bit over the forest right now. It’s very pretty, and you get a nice view immediately around, but see nothing of the long distance. I prefer seeing what’s out there and what’s to come.
Aparima Hut to Lower Wairaki Hut Te Araroa Takitimu
The path was very well marked. The trail notes mentioned it was difficult to follow, but DOC must have been in and upgraded the markers and cleared away the windfall, as it was really quite a good trail. Again there were lots of ups and downs.
It was another very hot day and I was already sweating at 8.30am. There were some impressive sized trees today, and lots of toadstool groves. I reached Lower Wairaki hut at midday and enjoyed a 30 minute lunch. Te Araroa Takitimu Tops
Lower Wairaki Hut to the Takitimu Tops
I found the afternoon really difficult. 500m elevation is nothing compared to some of the mountains we’ve been up, but I found it really tough in the heat – even in the shade of the forest.
Today for the first time ( and as I was struggling) I entertained thoughts along the lines of “wouldn’t it be nice if I was at the end of the trail now”… and “I could just finish in Bluff”… It was the first time I’d thought about ending the trail. I took 10 steps and rested, 10 more and rested. About 1km from the top, just after a steep section, and just as I was getting really quite despondent, someone had written ” smile” on the DOC orange marker on a tree. It made my day!
I reached the top at 3pm and ate a celebratory museli bar. A little further up still, and I was on the Takitimu Tops. What a view – I could see all the way to the south coast!
My mood lifted immediately as I took it all in. The trail continued over and down the rocky ridge, then through farmland. I resumed grumbling to myself, on the downhill, and didn’t stop until I reached Telford campsite at 4.45pm. I drank 4 litres of water today, and rushed to get more from the stream.
Once in camp I had a wash in the stream, and did the usual camp setup. I had a couple of camp buddies join me this evening: Steven (Belgium) and Llew (Canada) who hosted the TA Xmas party in Wellington. Llew had spent the same amount of time on the South Island as I had – but remember however, that due to the weather I had skipped a large portion of it between Nelson and Tekapo. Llew had been pushing massive days, covering huge distances. I hardly even recognised him he had lost so much weight this past month or so.
I went to bed pretty early. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with slightly less hills… We’re due a big storm, so I hope that cools things down!