Day 39 – Mangaokewa Reserve to Pureora Base

November 26, 2016

km traveled today: 21 (36 road km’s hitched)

total TA km: 969

At 6:00am it was raining and we refused to get up, so we slept in another half an hour. We got out of the tent and the rain was still coming down, lightly though. By 7, I was eating the gross “Almond One Square Meal” bar I pulled out for myself. I chocked it down with some water and immediately brushed my teeth. By 7:10 we were walking down the trail in high spirits. It quickly stopped raining and the sky opened up to blue and we shed our raincoats.


The river track was gorgeous. The trail skirted the river and then a couple km in it jumped up onto a ridge with a tiny width on which to walk. For the rest of the day we walked along this tiny path, definitely made by goats for goats. The trail sloped down towards the water and we battled all day trying not to slip on the mud and grass down the steep bank and into the water below us. It was a really beautiful walk, but I felt that I wasn’t able to appreciate it well enough because I was so frustrated with the path.


A couple km’s into the walk the path opened up into a nice grass field, soaked by the rain, with sheep grazing everywhere. To our left was the muddy water, moving swiftly by us. To our right was a steep grass slope up onto a long cliff. 


At the top of the cliff we spotted goats, a whole lot of them. They looked majestic and very ominous as they peered down over us from their perch high up on the cliff. With the dark clouds rolling on by us we pushed on, hoping it wouldn’t rain. The rain held out for us though.

Almost at kilometer 923 we found a sweet campsite, equipped with picnic table, chairs, benches, fire pit, and even horseshoe pins. The tent sites looked pretty sweet, tucked into the pines. But the best part of the whole spot were the inner tubes we found tucked up underneath a big tree. Promptly Jack and Jasper announced they were going tubing down the cute little rapid by the site. I shrugged off my pack and sat down on the bench without a second thought of going into the water. Sam held Jasper’s phone, ready to film, while Jack and Jasper stripped naked, ready to float the rocky swift. They hopped in and had a go. They happily proclaimed the run a 3 out of 10 with chilly water.

They redressed and we moved on, eager to get to SH30 by lunch. The track went through gorgeous scenery all morning, with a quick little shower at 11:45, the grass was still slippery and we battled falling the whole time. The track took us up and down ridiculously steep and way too narrow paths. We felt like Ibex’s trying to find salt on Hoover Dam. The track took us tight along the customary fences, but this one was special. Barbed wire with a ton of thistle, and what I call spiky Kale. 


The wet grass and terrible walking made for the inevitable. I stepped on a cow footprint poorly, turned my ankle and went sliding down on the wet grass into the barbed wire. I ripped a sizable hole in my pack cover and put a handful of holes in my raincoat. The rest of the walk was more of the same gorgeous scenery, but I was upset so I couldn’t appreciate it enough.

We turned onto the gravel road that would take us to the highway. My stomach grumbled, but i forced it to shut up. We walked through another bull pen. This time though we walked straight and the Bulls just stared at us.


 Their droppings smelled exquisite, powerful and smelling nothing of grass. Having stepped in enough for our entire life, we walked on and finally stopped for lunch. Taking off our soaked shoes we enjoyed a tortilla free lunch, with cheese and meat stick, and peanut butter, and our new scroggin. We hit the road again after lunch before 2. 


Walking briskly we found ourselves at SH30 at 2:40. The sky turned and started showering us in fits of rain. We sat down on the pavement and waited for a ride. 

After an hour of unsuccessfully waiting we finally relented and split into groups of two. We decided that we’d get to the Pureora campsite no matter how, but if we got separated for the night that would be fine too. With the plan in mind, jasper and I took off up the road. The first car that passed immediately picked up Sam and jack. They drove past us with a quick stop to say that they were off to Pureora. 

Jasper and I walked on for another fifteen minutes before we saw the same white truck turn around in front of us and tell us to get in. Jon and Lisa came back for us and we crammed in their back seat. The thirty km to the campsite flew by.


Jon and Lisa dropped us off, teasing us about the steak they were going to have at their Christmas dinner party. We promptly made some pretty tasty couscous and instant mashed potatoes with peas. Rain spit at us as we did dishes and piled into the dryness of the tents before seven.

Tomorrow we will go to Bog Inn hut after summiting Pureora.

Lots of love,

Will

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