Waitewaewae Hut (km1608) – Pukeatua Track (km1630)
Despite being really tired and the hut being very quiet, I didn’t sleep well. At first it was too hot and all night the mossies were plaguing me. I’ve determined that there are only 2 noises that keep me awake anymore…really loud snoring and mosquito buzzing. I thought there were only one or two, until I killed half a dozen in the morning, with many more evading me. My poor hut mates heard me slapping at them all night. Sorry for the noise, guys. Chalk up another night when I would have been better off in my tent.
I took it easy and didn’t leave the hut until after 9 am. I was stiff from the day before and my knees hurt. The trail was a good assortment of the usually stuff (rough, roots, some mud) but nowhere near the difficulty previously. It crossed many small creeks and I reflected back on Wired’s post about this section. A storm had come through, dumping a lot of rain. She found the creeks quickly flooded and almost impassable. I took a picture of the stream where another hiker, small in stature, was unable to cross and had to wait a day at this junction. Now, all the streams were no more than a trickle, as has been my experience on all the trails thus far. Keeping my fingers crossed that I still have such luck on the more challenging crossings on the SI.
Near the end of the track, I came to another swingbridge over the Otaki River. It’s worth reading Wired’s blog Day 59 to see the same picture of this river in flood. What a contrast!
I stopped for a late lunch break at a hut. It was the destination for the 2 couples I stayed with last night but as it was still early in the day, I pressed on. It was also reasonably clear on this day, so I hoped to get some views at the top of the next 14km track. I was not looking forward to the 2000′ ascent and descent, though. I’d read that the grade wasn’t too bad and trail conditions good, which I found to be the case. I even saw evidence of recent maintenance. Unfortunately the clouds had rolled in by the time I got to the top, so there not really any good views.
I walked until around 7:15 pm, when I found a flat spot just off the trail with a stream nearby. I even had just enough time to go for a swim and wash off all the sweat. It was a much easier day but still tiring. The day before just took so much out of me. I was glad for a guaranteed good night’s rest alone in my tent.