We started right at the beginning of the 42 Traverse. This is another mountain biking trail similar to the Timber Trail. It was a lot steeper than the Timber Trail and certainly less maintained. The 4WD track was nice but we definitely encountered a lot of mud and steep climbs. We had a nice early start and the clouds stayed on us for the first few hours. After that and a couple of the ups and downs the sun came out and although hot we had some great views across the forest. We also passed a bunch of mountain bikers before lunch who kept warning us about the mud, I guess they haven’t seen what we’ve already done. We stopped for lunch by a stream and also rinsed some of the mud off. Right after lunch our trail split from the 42 Traverse and we followed Waione Cokers Track out. We’d been warned that this wasn’t at all sign posted but apparently DOC also heard as there were more markers than we usually get including even KM markers (although we noted after about 3kms these started to become pretty inaccurate and then stopped for awhile). This track was a lot like the biking track but thinner so plenty of fighting bushes. There was also a lot more mud and many submerged parts of track. It was actually quite fun to do and a good track, we had our usual afternoon rain and thunder (no hail this time) so were pretty soaked through anyway. We hit road after 13km on this and spent another few minutes washing the mud and stones out of our shoes. Amusingly a lot of the puddles were actually hot from being in the sun all day so your feet would be submerged in warm water. The warmth didn’t last long but it was nice while it did. After a small stretch on the road we turned back into bush to head to Te Kooti’s last stand. This is one of the last rebellious Maori leaders who was fighting the British and the remnants of his small fort still exists. While it’s quite a tourist attraction we seemed to go in via the back route and spent 3km fighting off gorse and other sharp native plants. After a long day this wasn’t super enjoyable… Luckily the Pa (fort) was worth it, it was really cool to see and had great views. We came out the other side on the tourist path and quickly hiked along the highway to the holiday park we’re staying at tonight. We did pass over a bridge that had a lot of water running very quickly underneath. It was clear that this was huge run off from the mountains and it was way above where it usually is. It’s been raining on and off all evening but we’ve been able to set up our tent dry and get a hot shower. Tomorrow we finally get to do the Tongariro Crossing and pass Mt Doom!