Day 35 – Halfway to Halfway

We’ve officially passed the halfway point of the North island, even though we’re past the quarter point of the entire trail already, given that it’s day 35 of walking and we were targeting 70 days this feels right on point. We started out on top of Pirongia after a solid night’s sleep in the bunks. The hut was great and the wind and rain outside were pretty intense so definitely grateful to not have to test the tent. In the morning the visibility was still non-existent so unfortunately we did not get a view. The trail started out with what we thought would be a short 5km descent off the mountain. The trail marker indicated that it would take 3 – 5 hours which was a lot longer than we were expecting, but trust in the DOC. The trail was very wet, nearly instantly our shoes were soaked through and we were muddy up our legs. It was still a really fun trail and we made it out in three hours which given the conditions we were feeling good about. It also wasn’t as much of a descent as we thought (just a lot of up and down) and by the time we dropped down to the road we’d only descended 200m and were still in thick cloud.

At this point we had about 45km to go to Waitomo which the trail notes listed loosely as 2 days but didn’t specify anywhere to camp in between. We decided to just make it as far as we could and stop somewhere when we saw a good spot to camp. The trail was a lot of road for awhile and we moved over this in the rain pretty fast. The most exciting see we saw here was two geese crossing the road, we never found out why. We turned off the road with about 25km to go to Waitomo and hit some really boggy track that slowed us down a lot. In the end this ended up leaving us about 15km shy of Waitomo and we’re spending the night in quite a storm putting our tent through a windy and rainy test. Thankfully everything is relatively dry inside so we’re able to get warm and had a warm dinner. Before setting up camp we did see a couple hundred sheep being herded down the road after shearing and we ran right into that which was fairly entertaining.

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