Today was a tough one. After a night of torrential rain, we woke up at the usual 6:30 AM for a breakfast of One Square Meal bars, our new favorite 600+ calorie treat. We packed up and headed further up the mountain road until we reached the turnoff into the mighty Raetea. We had heard plenty of warnings regarding the Raetea’s difficulty.
Quickly we learned its reputation is quite apt. Climbing steep rootmess to nearly 2,500 feet through mudslide was made even more difficult by the stubborn vines, tentacles fighting to drag you into the briny depths of Raetea’s muddy bowels. The previous night’s rain made the typically muddy Raetea especially juicy, filling our shoes and our souls with its squelchy afterbirth. After a 3/4 days walk up and down Raetea’s many peaks, we reached an ATV path on which we ate up kilometers like the mud had eaten our shoes.
Gunning it down the ATV path made us once again feel in control of our destiny, no longer held prisoner by the forested ocean of mother nature’s septic leakage. Soon however, it was back into the high swamp, as we tackled our final decent down the mountains toward Makene road. It was during that stretch we began already to feel nostalgic for Raetea’s challenges. 2/3 done with the Northland Forests, the mud began to feel increasingly inviting. Thankful for the challenge, we each severed a finger and tossed it into the gaping maw of a Raetea mudpool. We vocally droned in unison as we departed the forest.
Once we left Raetea, we walked down a gorgeous ridgeline with an amazing view of surrounding farmland.
Eventually we reached Makene road and walked it until we came upon Highway 1, and a path to a river in which we washed our feet and shoes.
We wanted to press on to the Mangamuka dairy to resupply tonight, and so we called to check store hours. Liza explained that they were already closing up but that she could come pick us up and we could get our resupply after all. In her store she let us know her backyard is available to camp in, and that once we were done outfitting we could set up back there for the night. We managed to get all the food we needed for a great price. Her store is awesome and we highly recommend it as a resupply location. Thanks Liza!
It was a long day, made substantially easier by Liza’s help toward the end. After a hearty dinner of spaghetti and avocados, we are ready to crash before we wake up tomorrow to begin the final stretch of the Northland Forests: Puketi.