Day 35 – Kaniwhaniwha to Pahautea Hut

November 22, 2016

km traveled today: 8 (quarter day)

total TA km: 847

Much to my dismay, I was roused at 6:00am. We slowly packed up our stuff in the dew soaked grass where we made camp next to a picnic table. After three of our trips to the long drop toilet, we set off at an early 7:06 AM. Immediately we were dancing around the little stream trickling down the path. It was hot and humid and we started sweating immediately. The climb started off gradually and we ate the kilometers. 

By 8am we had already walked three steeo and muddy kilometers. The humidity was killer, but we pounded water to offset it. The track was good for the most part, just dodging the water in the middle of the path occasionally and finding the trail a little sparse of markers at times and hard to follow. (I wish I was writing that sarcastically like I normally would have been, but we actually did lose the trail for a moment.)

By 10 AM we started the real climb with less than two kilometers to climb we stepped it up. We pushed hard and about thirty minutes later we stopped for our third bar break of the day and immediately broke out the prized gummies. Reasonably, we decided that a quarter of the kilogram of gummies would suffice till we got to the peak. We took the twenty minute break and set off again.

We tramped up the steep track to a look out and wiped the mud off of us and then decided we should summit. Up the steep slope to the false summit, then down through the slippery mud, clinging to trees and swinging around them like Tarzan; then leaping pits of deep mud we made it to the boardwalk. The boardwalk lasted a few minutes and we found ourselves under the wood tower. We climbed the ladder and were immediately astounded at the view greeting us. 

In the distance we saw the still clinging snow on Mount Ngaurahoe and the completely snow covered Ruapehu, and the Pureora Range looked wonderfully inviting.

We hung out on the tower for a bunch of minutes before we decided it was time to head to the hut for lunch. With sausage and garlic butter tortillas and cheese in our bellies we spread out in the spacious hut a kilometer from the summit. For the remaining hours of the day we read our kindles, played a ton of hearts, made dinner and slept.

To end the day we did our second “interview” in the wind and watched the sunset over the gorgeous New Zealand landscape.

We reflected on how lucky we were to be in such a beautiful place and how would could better appreciate it in the coming months.


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