I had a late start after it had rained in the night and it took me longer to pack my stuff. Also Eppie invited me for a coffee before I left and we chatted for a while.
The day started out with 7km of road walking. Not exciting at all…

 

Man with hat

 I have the feeling it is the last section for my shoes. They will not last any longer – they just don’t have any grip anymore. I guess the last week in the city and the road walking were not helpful.

The forest is getting thicker again and also more jungleish.

 

“Eine Strasse, viele Bäume – das ist eine Allee…”

  
 Fought my way up to the highest point of today at around 800m and from their all the way down again on the other side.


I didn’t meet a single person the entire day. Pretty empty and no more SOBOs I guess…

 

Sunlight-flow

 

Love sometimes hurts

After I arrived at Otaki Fork I continued to reach the next hut.


10km to go, a small saddle to climb and descent on the other side. The signs said 5-7h which I usually cut in half. This was also true for the first part today. So I left Otaki Fork at 4.30pm giving me another 3h to sunset.

 

Old tram tracks on the nice old trail

  
It is crazy, the days are getting noticeably shorter and you really have to plan a little bit better not to get stuck in the dark.

Well, what can I say. It took longer than expected. There was an alternate track in place which was introduced after the old one had gone in a slip. And the track sucked! Crawling, huge steps, slippery and very steep section slowed me down a lot.


I was really pissed when the signs made me turn of the rather nice track and I had to take this one (at this point in time I didn’t know about the slip yet and thought somebody wanted us to just go up and down for nothing again…).

And then it was 7.30pm and the sun was gone. A few minutes longer I could do without artificial light but the forest was so thick that no moonlight made it to the ground. I got my head torch out but the light was really weak. I suspected it to be the batteries since they had been in use since the beginning. And then it was pitch black. I couldn’t see anything anymore and also no markers I could spot. I had to use the torch of my iPhone to make my way trough the darkness. And then a sign: low water track 20 min and high water track 30 min. As fast as possible of course! But after a few steps I had to give up and take the longer path up the hill again. After an endless hour after sunset I finally arrived at the hut. Scary and really unpleasant experience…

Since I was alone I took a quick “shower” – I was full of mud due to the crawling and completely sweaty. Food and off to bed. Exhausted.