Day 61 – Toko Corner to Makahika OPC

Toko Corner to Makahika OPC (Tararua Range)

33kms

Total 1526kms

Totally exhausted after today! That was much tougher than any of us expected. 13 hours of hiking through mostly bush. There were lots of steep climbs and one up to 690m abs towards the end of the day. Heaps of mud and several stream crossings and at times walking up the streams. It was an awesome day and beautiful, but very tough. I drank about 5 litres of water during the day. It got very hot after lunch and I was sweating a lot going up the hills. Nothing tastes better than cool fresh water on days like these. There was no shortage of streams for water supply. Jesse and I left at 7.30am and arrived at the outdoor pursuits centre at 8.30pm. Josh caught up to us at around 4pm. He must have been really going for it! Jesse and I had stopped for lunch at an abandoned shed which has been recently rebuilt for TA walkers. This was at the half way point at around 1pm. We dried our tents out and had a good feed to refuel and check our maps to make sure we would be able to make it through. There was still a long way to go at that point but we know that we are capable of going all day if we need to.

John greated us at the OPC when we arrived. He runs the place with his wife Sally. The first thing he did was get us a beer. That went down really well. He gave us a run down of the weather and recommended how we tackle the next four days up there. There is mostly good weather but some rain and high winds are forecast so we will need to push a bit further on one day to get off the top of the mountain before it comes otherwise we will be stuck up there and have to ride it out sitting in a hut for a day. But our timing to start is perfect as the conditions have not been good up there for the last few days even though it has been fine down here.

The OPC have set up a marquee and outdoor kitchen for TA walkers to use. There is also use of the hot showers, toilets and laundry at the lodge right next to it. Usually they would give you a bed in the lodge but they are expecting VIP guests this weekend so we are sleeping under the marquee instead. I had one of the best showers of my life and then a big feed and chilled for a while to unwind before getting into bed.

We decided to have a rest day tomorrow and get a ride into Levin with John in the morning. I need some more food. I have enough to ration but I could definately do with more to get me through to Waikanae. I have been very hungry the past few days and the next four days will be very tough too. I can’t wait to get up there though!

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