Finish: Te Matawal Hut Tararua mountains (1484k approx)
Distance for the day: 66km (approx)
Cumulative distance: 1484k
No blog from Jez this evening. Once again he has insisted on spending a night (probably alone) in a luxury mountain hut with no electricity, running water, or heating. There he will feast on a rehydrated food pack washed down with water from a nearby stream. In contrast, Jamie & I are having to suffer a beach-side camp ground with hot showers, tennis court, sauna, & gym. The restaurant table is booked for 8.30 - but please don't worry about us - we shall cope, & Jez will make it up to us when he returns from his night of solitude.
Tomorrow, we also get our first lie-in for a month (but don't tell Jez as we promised to get up at the same time as he will have to - 5.30!)
Having spent last night in the van at the foot of the Tararua Mountains, Jez was able to get on the trail by 7am after a hearty breakfast of muesli & eggs on toast (no bacon as I had thrown it away by mistake!). It was then a long day on challenging forest trails. I ran up into the forest to meet him coming down, & it was a beautiful place with lush tropical vegetation, the only sounds being the birdsong & the rushing waters of the many streams that we had to ford. Jamie had a mega lunch ready for Jez when we got to the van, after which he packed his 'fastpack' overnight bag before heading back to the mountains for a lonely night. He has a choice of 3 huts in which to stay depending upon what distance he can achieve before dark.
Looking sombre ahead of his long over night forest trail
It is now 10.30pm & Jez has the audacity to disturb our cheese, port, & cigars with a text to inform us that he hopes to reach the 2nd hut by 11pm. Happy New Year from the Te Araroa team! Mark.
Heading off from the comfort of the van into the wilderness