It was all going so well as well … steaming along lovely open forest paths and just as we thought we could taste the beer in our grasp …… the gorse arrived!
The jeep track grew over into thick foliage quicker than Max’s bedroom in Where the Wild Things Are. Sharp spiky barbs blocked the way. We just had to physically push and shove our way through solid bush. Legs and arms scratched up and bleeding and pampas grass slicing at your face as you went. Large sections of earth had fallen away in landslides and obscured the trail. Clambering up on fallen fallen trees on the steep valley side to check the route we were convinced we’d taken a wrong turn. We wondered why there was no mention in the Te Araroa trail notes of such an obscured track. Turned out to be the right way.. Phew! But that was tough going! :D
The clearing left by the old logging road seems to be the perfect conditions for Pampas Grass and Gorse to grow.. The closer we got the (amusingly named) peak Pukemoremore, the thicker it got. The zig zag just before the trail leaves the old road was the worst.. landslides, fallen tress, gauze and pampas so thick it was hard to see any evidence of trail. I became convinced that the path must of been re-routed around this section and doubled back to the first blow-down to see if I could find any evidence of a new trail we’d missed. Nothing, so on we went!
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You found the track?! we followed your red line to the letter…. we went straight down the cliff!!!! literally.. i used the cutty grass to break my fall. but we made it to the bottom and climbed out into the stream. sooo many cuts.
This thin red line is our saviour though… the only time it’s led us astray!.
Oh no! Don’t worry that is the trickiest bit so far, it all gets much easier from now on :) There’s a few times that I’ve noticed my red line hasn’t quite been right, don’t follow it to the letter, use your judgement, it’s only an indication! There’s a section before Wellington in the Tararua where I just made it up because there was no route description. I believe the Te Araroa site now has an updated route up now, so definitely check that beforehand.