Early rise and hit the road at 7am. Pleasant walk before the Herekino Forest which has the reputation of being the toughest section of the entire Te Araroa track. Been told that we will have mud up to our knees and the chance of losing the path was high.From Ahipara town, where we stayed for the night, a friendly dog built like a bullmastiff, the type no-one would go near, followed us the 9km to the start of our forest track,she was very friendly , we tried to shoo her away and return home as she continued crossing the road with the risk of getting hit by a car. A Possum high in a tree was safe from her but that didn’t stop her from trying. Just before we got to our turn off, the dog crawled under the wrong wire fence and with a yelp from getting a shock from the electric fence, she dashed acrossed the road, looked at us as if we had something to do with it, then she was gone.
I could see straight away that the track was going to be a challenge from all the water laying about, we rested for 10 minutes and finished off the hard boiled eggs and with new energy from the rest we had yesterday we made our first climb into the hills.
Going was much easier than first thought, the weather was definitely on our side with nothing but blue sky everywhere, a great contrast from yesterday.
We got to the stream where a wire was strung from side to side in the event that the water was too high and to assist hikers across. Today it definitely wasn’t needed. Scott and Mandy, our Scottish friends,we met when we walked with on the beach caught up with us We all knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy day from feedback from others. So off we went with our water bottles filled from what we were told the last water supply (clean)
Although we didn’t see them, being a Saturday, there were obviously a team of workers clearing the track wide enough for two people to walk side by side and this carried on for at lest a couple of Kms
Going down the ridge line towards the farm land was a real challenge with mud/clay making progress very slow.
On exiting the forest at about 6:10pm we had enough for dinner and breakfast, came across 2 boys from England already camped, who informed us that the best option was to camp along side the access road between forest and farm. I admired their tent, they had one each , which was very different to our one, first theirs way 0.6kg compared to ours being 2.1kgAdmittedly theirs was lighter that had only one skin to protect yourself from the bugs, sandflies and rain. But I liked the weight difference, carrying just half a kilo is more attractive than lugging around 2kg of dead weight. No wonder my bags heavy.
After talking to the two boys, we backtracked 50 metres and found a great spot with a view of the farm land with the milking cows obviously getting ready to go to their milking. Dinner was basic with most of the Korean boil in a bag gone, we were down the quick rice and chicken powder from the first 10day of the track, 90%of the food was brought from overseas at a fraction of the cost of what I’d expected to pay in NZ.