Te Araroa Trail Mangaokewa River Track
Today started at 5am at Casara Mesa. I ate my breakfast then performed some minor surgery on a thorn wound which had become infected on my finger. I was on the trail at 6.15am.
The dew on the very long grass meant that I was soaked to my waist in no time. Today’s trail took me through Mangaokewa reserve and a further 15kms adjacent to the river. The Mangaokewa scenic reserve was beautiful. This part of the Waikato has lots of hills with rocky outcrops and I saw wild goats and heard lots of birds in the forest. I even found a stick insect hitching a lift on my pack! That was the lovely bit…
The not so lovely bit was the temperature, around 30 degrees – and terrible hayfever and scratchy eyes/contacts. If you don’t suffer from hayfever, imagine putting half a teaspoon of peanut butter in your eyes and take it from there.
The Mangaokewa track was pretty enough, but I didn’t enjoy walking on a very sleep sided slippery grassy, muddy, brambly, gorsey slope/river bank. The path was barely-there, and the width of one of my feet. I slipped, lost a leg and fell a few times – waves of adrenaline rushing through me as I heaved myself up and hesitantly carried on. There were also lots of hills and bog thrown in for good measure. My feet were wet and muddy all day again today.
At one point the path completely fell away into the river. Loose dirt and small cliff was all that remained.
I sat down and took some time to determine how I would tackle it. In the end decided to slide down the cliff on my belly with my pack on, gripping two huge bunches of grass for support.
Once the missing part had been crossed, I had to heave my pack up onto the cliff to head height, find something to grip and climb back up again.
Anja and Markus caught up with me at 2.30pm also slightly worse for wear after the walk, and we stopped to get water in a nearby camping shelter.
On to Pureora Forest Park
We comtemplated our next move – a road walk of 40kms, when our saviour pulled up in the shape of Nick (lovely man working on the upkeep of the roads).
Anja asked him for a lift to the highway, and he ended up taking us all the way to our destination – Pureroa Forest thus saving us a whole day of road walking!
We set up camp in the beautiful and remote Ngaherenga campsite. A couple of hours later a couple of big groups of partying holiday-makers drove up into the campsite.. grumble grumble… Us TA’ers keep nature’s hours i.e. In bed by 7.30pm and up at 5am!