Today was harder than I'd have expected. It was only 14 km but it was 14km of up and down with very little flat. Also, anyone planning of doing this walk... You will get your feet wet. There's 12-14 river crossings and unless you're happy adding several hours to the day you'll just bowl on through.
I met a group of 4 others on the trail. Their names are in my other notebook though. Will update this again later. They did deliver one bit of good news though. Fred was about an hour ahead of me. He'd camped on the trail about an hour before the Stody's hut intersection.
Getting to the hut was good. The constant up and down of the trail was actually getting to be just a little tedious by the end of it. Climbing the last bit to the ridge to find the 4WD track to the hut was very welcomed indeed.
There's 3 of us here tonight. Fred, who'll be a trial mate for a few days, and Pukdeep from India, who is also on the Te Araroa. He's travelling north to south though. Turns out that they are both engineers and the conversation is easy.
Pukdeep provided us with some good trail notes about what is coming up. It's sounding pretty good. Should get some decent kilometers in over the next few days.