Day 41 – Suspensions and Spirals

We had our second major encounter with some of New Zealand’s non-native pests. At one point Heather woke up shining the flashlight light around trying to scare various things off. Most of New Zealand’s non-native pests are things like possums, mice, rats, wild cats, etc. so nothing to dangerous. However in the morning we discovered that they would tear a hole in your pack to get at a candy bar wrapper. Whatever it was the came in the night has gashed a hole in one of my hip pockets to get at two candy bar wrappers I’d left in there. We’ve left food in our packs just about every night and not had a problem so this was certainly unexpected. Not the end of the world but definitely annoying. We had a big day ahead of us but were pretty confident about the time it would take and the conditions of the trail so started fairly slowly in the morning. We’re eating a lot more food since we want to arrive in town tomorrow with nothing but also growing worryingly accustomed to having more food than normal, it might be hard to switch back. The trail was very similar to what we had for the past two days, ironically this part was supposed to be easier according to the grading system but actually seemed marginally harder. We spent most of the day descending down a valley over various suspension bridges and along parts of an old tramway that was used when this area was logged. The suspension bridges were impressive but there was also a lot of near tunnels dug into the hills in an effort to keep where the tracks used to pass relatively flat. Now overgrown these areas looked really cool with trees hanging over the top. We also walked through the Ongarue Spiral which was a bridge over the trail the then curled around and went underneath and through a tunnel.

The day was hot and long (over 45km in total so definitely up there in our longest days) and we continued to hike down the valley with good views and across a ton of bridges. We even passed a section where we couldn’t stop for risk of a boulder falling on us… Nearing the end of the trail (it was a sign posted every km) we hit a detour onto a logging route and somehow managed to go down this the wrong way for a bit before getting back onto the trail. We made it to the campsite at the end of the Timber Trail around 6:30, so very early considering how long the day was and how late these long days have been previously. There’s a nice little hut here with running water and a toilet. Tomorrow we’ve have a road day into town and to resupply and get more pies.

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