Kaitaia to Takahue Saddle
The Northerner Hotel in Kaitaia was very comfortable and the staff were super friendly and helpful. Carol and Caroline. Caroline offered us her own car to use while we were there which we did in the morning to sort a few things in town and have a good cooked breakfast. Then Carol offered to drop us off at our starting point which was 6kms away. We had planned to catch a taxi.
No sooner than we were waving goodbye to Carol at the end of Ruaroa Road, a local who owns the land we had planned to camp on, coincidentally pulled up on his farm bike. He was an interesting character to say the least. We talked for 10 minutes but he did most of the talking. We filtered out some useful information and finally set off walking at 10am. We had a quick break outside of the Takahue community hall and then carried on into the foothills of the Raetea Forest. It was beautiful farmland with rivers and streams flowing from all directions in the valley. We met a local lady walking down the road who stopped for a yarn and made sure we knew not to poo in the river that her kids swim in downstream. Apparently this happens a lot. I reassured her by pointing out my handy toilet trowel and we continued for another 2kms to the clearing that has been set up by a land owner for TA camping. There was a water tap which is fed by a nearby stream and a barbeque table overlooking the hills.
Jerome (who I have been referring to as Geram) and Xavier arrived an hour after us. Julian’s knee is still not well enough. The Raetea is not a good place for a bad knee.
They say the Raetea is a right of passage for TA hikers. The general consensus of the TA Facebook group describes a steep, muddy six hour climb up followed by a steep, muddy six hour climb down and I dont think many people actually enjoy it. At least the view will be great from the top with a 744m summit. I’m sure it’ll be worth it! Early start tomorrow.
Oh and I almost forgot the best bit. Dad bought me an early Christmas present with him. An ultralight two man tent to swap out with my ‘worlds smallest tent’!! It was what I wanted for this trip but was too expensive. I am lying in it right now and it is so spacious I can’t believe it. It weighs the same as my one man tent. This will make my experience so much more enjoyable. Thanks dad.