TA Day 64 – The Hardest section of the whole trail

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26th December


Nicols Hut 1555.2 to Parawei Hut 1573

“Wow, look at the view”, I shouted a little too loud. It was just after sunrise when I looked out the window of the hut. I glimpsed a valley, mountains, low clouds and occasional rays of sunshine. The last couple of days were a white out. We were all awake now. And the weather looked great.

It was 7am when we left our home. The place we spent Christmas, the place that kept us warm and dry. We cleaned the place and were satisfied that we left it in better condition than we found it.

There were views. The clouds formed in the low valleys and drifted upwards. At times we hiked through the clouds, at others times we had unlimited views. And the wind. Or lack of wind, at least for the first hour it was calm. As the morning progressed the wind picked up but only enough to cool down the sweat. This place was a paradise for mountain seeking hikers like myself. A kind of beauty and the beast type of mountain range.

Photo below by Jean

Photo below by Jean

It took a couple of hours to traverse the high exposed ridges before the trail descended over 1000 meters through muddy green forest. We all fell several times to the amusement of those that didn’t. After crossing a wire suspension bridge we made it to Waitewaewae Hut.

Our goal for the day was Parawei hut a further 12km away. 7 hours, the sign said. The trail rose and fell as it traversed dense forest and mountain streams. On several occasions I was treated to a wall of wood. A great wall of wood set across the trail like a cruel blockade. Many trees were down.

10am photo below

After 5 hours I set foot into the hut. A young family with a 1 year old crying baby greeted me. So ended my favorite and hardest section of trail to date, the Tararua Mountains.

Next – Day 65 – A PCT reunion 

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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  1. A belated Merry Christmas, Brad. Thanks so much for the ten o’clock photos! I was on North Island in late January a few years ago and the weather wasn’t bad. So says an Oregonian hiker….

    1. And merry Christmas to you and your family. February is usually the most stable month for weather in New Zealand closely followed by January. December was a mess, many locals agreed it was above average for crappyness. Let’s hope January brings great weather.

  2. Great photos! How did this section of the trail compare to difficult sections of other thru-hikes you’ve done? Easier/harder/about the same?

    1. Much harder than most due to the mud, tree roots and exposure to the bad weather. A New Zealand tramping track is very different from a USA style hiking trail.

      1. Having never hiked in the USA (yet!), I’ve always wondered how our tracks compare! Thanks so much for taking the time to reply :)

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