TA Day 61 – River walk into the Tararua Mountains

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23rd December


Makahika Outdoor Centre 1526.1km to Te Matawai Hut 1543.1km

Cirrus clouds greeted me as I looked up at the morning sky. Angry citrus clouds. That is normally a sign that bad weather is moving in over the next 24-48 hours which is in direct contrast to the latest weather forecast. The next 2 days are forecast to be fine and clear.

The cool morning air had me wrapped in my down jacket, warming my hands on my coffee cup. The coldest morning for many days. It was time to climb into the Tararua mountains, rated by most as the hardest section of the while Te Araroa trail.

There are 3 routes to the hut Te Matawai Hut, our planned home for the night. I chose the unmarked route that followed a river bed rather than a muddy trail. No signs, no markers and into the unknown. The river was crystal clear and I lost count of how many times I crossed the river, maybe hundreds. At times it was fast flowing and deep, crotch deep in places. But it was fast, I sped up the river much faster than on a trail. But with no tripod I was unable to take any photos of the river crossing.

My formative hiking was in the remote canyons of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. For me, hiking on slippery river beds comes naturally. It wasn’t long before I stopped at a random hut next to the river. This was my exit point to commence the long steep climb to my hut for the night. It only took an two hours to get to my home for the night.

Jean was already there splitting the wood to have a warming fire. I set about starting the fire to warm the hut so we could dry out. It was getting cold, the wind picked up and the rain started. What happened to our clear weather window. Were the Cirrus clouds this morning correct? They usually are.

Paul and Kathy arrived to a warm dry hut. They came with a gift. A mini tripod. They found it in a tree. It might have been there a long time. After losing mine yesterday they gave it to me. The trail provides.

What will the weather be like tomorrow. This occupied our thoughts. The weather forecast was proving false.

Next – Day 62 – Bad Weather Forces Retreat 

All the tips you need to hike the Te Araroa Trail : 
Complete Guide to the Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa Trail Resupply Guide
Te Araroa Trail Gear List
Te Araroa Trail Gear Review

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