January 2nd
Parawai Lodge(985.7)- Waikanae(1000.8)
Mileage: 15.1mi/24.3km

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook Hikes Te Araroa App.

It rained hard much of the night, and I was really happy with our choice to land at the hut yesterday. Neither of us slept much. I think it was the remnants of the adrenaline from the previous day’s stream crossings. Also, I kept thinking of Yoko. We woke up to no rain and clearing skies! By the time we hiked out, skies were blue! Just yesterday morning, the forecast had that it would pour rain three days straight, so this was a huge break! It was a relief that Yoko would get a full day of nice clear weather and those streams should have gone down to make the crossings insignificant. When we walked out, we passed the ranger station a bit down the road, and attempted to leave info about Yoko. No one was there, and we knew another couple was exiting from the hut and would walk right by her, so we knew someone would be there if she needed. Also, with such great clear skies, we knew the water would have dropped as quickly as it rose. We left a note along the trail that Yoko would hopefully see that had my contact info and we hope to hear from her, but it could be a couple days. I’ll update if I hear anything. I have friends going through just behind me as well, so I should find out eventually. 

Today we had one track hike to do before finally being done with this leg. It’s so funny how the tracks can make you thankful for a road walk and then the road walks make you wish for a track out here. Well, today’s track was the best maintained track we’ve been on for awhile. It was 2-3hrs of uphill, but it was gradual, so not bad heading up to the top of Pukeatua.

Our minds and bodies are pretty much spent from the last handful of days. It’s still amazing what all Becky has done and pulled off considering that she really had no prior hiking or endurance type experience prior to the TA. I forget that sometimes when she’s flying down a trail, and also forget how crazy young 20yrs old is. There is a lot of mental and physical challenges to thru-hiking, and I take it in stride having had years of experience and ways to mentally motivate. I forget that this is all new and a learning experience for Becky. She’s learning on the go how her mind and body best respond to such physical and mental stress, and it’s often a trial and error thing to figure out what works to keep each individual psyched and pumped to do things when drained. She’s doing great and kicking ass! 

We decided to do an activity to take our minds off what we were doing for the length of the climb. We took it easy on the climb up and recalled each of our 60 days out here in detail. We had to cheat a handful of times to confirm or recall something, but we mostly remembered everything. I’m terrible at knowing the names of things out here, but I can generally recall a track or mountain experience. Just don’t ask me to name it!

The path was nice, and more solidified than some tracks given all the rain the last 24hrs. There were hardly any views other than the bottom and the top. It was nice to see such clear skies when today was supposed to be raining. A great break, and given the last four days, I guess yesterday was the better one for rain given that it was down low and not exposed. Just the dang streams. 

We made it up top of Pukeatua and took a nice long lunch to dry things out while we ate. It was windy as gales were high up in the range, so we ate where it was protected on the trail. There were views looking back on the Tararua Range and down to the ocean. 

The hike down was the fun stuff. It was a bit slick and muddy, but we made good time, and the trail improved as we went down. At the end, there a great pine forest of tall trees and soft wide trail that I didn’t think could exist in New Zealand, ha!

We came out of the track at 2pm, and had 6.5mi/11km road walking into Waikanae. We both felt a huge sigh of relief to be on a quiet road walk where we could just space out and walk on flat ground. We didn’t even want music or to talk. Just a quiet time to decompress. 

Notice the street sign. No more of those for awhile please.

We hit town just after 4pm, and immediately wanted food that wasn’t trail food. The last time we ate out was in National Park when we had burgers and fries after the Tongariro Crossing 16 days ago. We wanted comfort food, saw the Subway, and went for it! Waikanae is just after the 1,000mi mark on the TA, so I celebrated with my chocolate milk and three cookies, ha!

Mile 1,000!

We went to the grocery store and grabbed a few things for the next three days to Wellington. Then Ray picked us up. We met Ray and Carol in the hut two days ago, and they were just ahead of us yesterday doing the streams. They were two hours ahead of us, and also had some tough crossings, but they are hardened lifelong NZ trampers and it was old hat to them. They have lived on the coast here for over 30yrs and have an amazing location and beautiful home. It was so nice of them to host us. THANK YOU Ray and Carol!

THANK YOU Carol and Ray!

What a view!

Becky was asleep before 8pm, and I stayed up talking with Ray and Carol who have done so much tramping in NZ and love it. Man, just three more days to Wellington and a well earned double zero. It’s been a month since we’ve had a zero! I can hear the ocean right now as I fall asleep:)

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