30th Jan Monday, TA Araroa 121

2856km to 2897km (Ports Water Race Track) next to mining equipment.

Another early start at 6:40 this morning with everything packed after having a protein bar and a cup of tea.
Camp site was nice with the soft pine needles making a soft bed for the night and no sandflies for a change.

Walking to Merrivale that required 6kms of road walk, we were excited as we hoped that there was going to be a small store or even a garage  where we could treat ourselves with a coffee and pie and get some snakes. But sadly, we were disappointed  to find nothing, just an intersection where another 8kms of road walking is required.  Sun was out now, warming  up the cold valley. It’s going to be another great day after a cold night.

Come breakfast  time we were looking for a water source, according to the  App Ken has on his phone there were a few options.  One was a stream, but access to it was impossible as there was a deer fence blocking all access.  No problem,  just meant we had another 3km before breakfast.  This time I doubled up on my rations  as now there was no need to reserve our food as the goal now is to reach Riverton tomorrow afternoon.

Started the Longwood track which is the last of the big climbs for the Te Araroa, I know we have had it generally dry for a good day or two but this track is really muddy, twice I got stuck in the mud with mud up to my knees and above which was getting really tiring to fight my way through.

Martins Hut was at our 37km mark today, we had already decided  to push on and camp near some old mining equipment, as described  in our notes. But we stopped there for some water and while we were there a NOBO North bound  hiker came out from the hut. He was from Holland  and straight away he was telling us his difficulties with all the gear he was  carrying .  Obviously  he was carrying way to much. He had no tent but had a hammock ,  I’m not sure how that’s going to work when the trees are few to be seen. He had so much food,  he gave us a jar of peanut butter and a packet of English muffins.  We accepted naturally.  He was a big boy, obviously  works out at the gym a lot so I’m guessing  that he’ll lose a lot on muscle  mass before he finishes  the track.  It reminds me when I first started 4 months ago with twice as much food than I really needed and carrying a large camera and wearing heavy boots. But here I am, only 103kms to go.

We got carried away with our food tonight, cooking enough for two helpings and some cheeses and crackers.

 This turned out to be the last time I used my tent in New Zealand, very warm and comfortable conditions for the night