Day 102 – Okay, so you hitched the roads? That don’t impress me much.

Our journey over the Motatapu track continued today. The whole track actually bisects a station owned by Shania Twain. As part of the deal when she bought the land the DOC required her to fund the construction of huts along the route and an easement to be able to walk through. Hence we have really nice huts and good track. We slept well in the hut despite being sandwiched next to other people. It was also pretty weird going to bed at 8pm when it got dark and not getting up until ~630. We needed the sleep but several other people out for just the night were commenting about how they hadn’t slept that much in ages. We were the first to get up and get going from the hut and haven’t seen anyone else all day or at the next hut so far. We started with an immediate climb up to a 1,200m saddle. It was a tough but nice climb and the track was good all the way up. We had views back to the hut for quite awhile as well but couldn’t see anyone following us.

The descent down the other side was very steep and we went right down a long spur back to the river.

Once at the bottom we then climbed again and zig zagged around the side of some steep hills until we saw the hut.

Most people doing this track not on the TA would stop here for the day. We reached here before 11am however so obviously kept going. The next section to Roses hut was apparently the toughest part of this track with two very good climbs. We started out by heading up to a small saddle above the hut. We could always look back and see the hut for about 2km so it would’ve been frustrating coming the other way. It was super steep climbing with no switch backs and some real vertical track. We were both very grateful to have our new shoes with full grip still intact.

Once on top of this it was a short siddle around the side of the mountain to a slightly higher saddle. The wind wasn’t to strong at this point so we decided to break for lunch here as well.

After lunch we had another very steep descent down a spur to a forest at the bottom of a valley. Crossed a stream at the bottom, and then climbed back up the other side. We passed another SoBo couple at this point who were moving quite a bit slower than us.

We stopped for another break here before finishing the final piece of the climb and beginning the long descent to the hut. At this point we started to see a few more people heading in the same direction as us. It seems we’ve come across a bubble of really really slow SoBo’s.

The hut is a another nice hut and there’s a couple people who decided to camp so it’s not to full. A lot of the people staying here are the slow SoBo’s. They’re very annoying to deal with cause they talk a lot and take up a lot of space and seem to think they know everything about the trail because they’ve been on it for so long. Really they aren’t true thru hikers and most times they’ve skipped large sections and definitely hitched the roads. They’re basically just tourists slowly moving from near the top of the North Island to near the bottom of the South Island and using the TA trail as an excuse. Fortunately as they move so slowly and don’t really hike we’ll probably pass them pretty quick.

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