Great day today. We were up early and on the trail by 8am. There's not that much to report on the trail itself. For the most part it followed a 4WD track. Although the first part of that did look foreboding. Gentle at first as it worked it's way up the valley, then a giant switch-back track up an enormous scree slope. Two and a half hours from start to the top and most of this was on the switch-back.
Fred and I pretty much kept out own pace. He's got this very consistent pace that doesn't seem to change regardless of the slope of the trail. But this did mean we tramped alone for parts of the day which worked out well.
At the saddle we stopped for the obligatory photo op, then took a rest break. Fred took off first and I never really caught up with him. Rested the feet for an extra 10 minutes, stopped to take of the warm top (it was chilly at the top), stopped to remove a boulder (3mm pebble) from my shoe, stopped and chatted with john and Kate from Christchurch, another rest stop and lunch at the hut at the bottom of the valley...
There was a note on the door of the hut from Fred. he was thinking of pushing on past the ca rpark at the end of this section so hadn't waited long.
At this point it was just past 1pm and I was feeling pretty good so though if I was good by the time I hit the car park I'd do the same and see if I could catch up.
Car park achieved, 22km so far today. Feeling good so pushed on.
Somewhere after the hut but before the car park the trail crossed the river. I missed the crossing but did spot a trail marker on the other side, checked the GPS and confirmed the error and crossed. Apparently Fred hadn't spotted this.
After reaching the car park I decided to push on at least another kilometer on the suggestion of a couple of locals who had just released a boar. There's no water at the car park and the Aruhihi River was close.
This was another 7km mark so I took a rest break, dropped the kit, took a few photos and settled in to check the track notes for the next section. While reading these and checking the map Fred was able to walk up the road behind me and surprise me. Missing the river crossing had added about 4km to his route and allowed me to catch up (kinda.)
My feet were feeling okay so we pushed on.
The Aruhihi River crossing was entertaining. The track in the GPS took us over a cliff that was at least 30 meters high. We decided not to stick to this track. The path we did take added about 2km to the trail. Also, the river is low at the moment and quite safe to ford.
After crossing we pushed on for another 2-3 km which means there's only about 20km to Lake Ohau tomorrow. It also means I managed 31km today over mixed terrain and didn't feel like death at the end of it. Feet are sore and the calves are a little stiff but for the most part all is well.
Ohau tomorrow. Hopefully a net connection so I can catch up on the journal too.