I was tired of waiting for good weather days to go hiking, so after work I decided to hit one of the longer half day tracks in the area – the Old Blyth Track.
I guess they haven’t updated the track name when they built the new Blyth Track. About 6km up the road was where the new Blyth Track took off from, heading towards the Blyth hut and Waitonga Falls. I decided for more of a challenge and do the old track. Part of the reason I chose this track was because of the weather – it was poor yet again, and most tracks I looked at here near Mt Ruapehu state that if it is rainy/has been rainy, the track will be muddy or rivers may be impassable. There was no such warning for the Blyth, and it states that logs have been placed across the walkway to help improve the surface. The improvement as it turned out was marginal.
The first 15 minutes were relatively easy and dry. After that though, it was an uphill slog through soggy dirt and mud. My hiking shoes are waterproof though, so I decided to carry on, all 4 hours of it. The trail itself did have a couple neat spots like a raised crossing over a river.
I was expecting the rivers to be more impressive given the nearly week straight of rain combined with the spring run-off from the mountain…but no. Finally the track started to leave the forest as I got higher up the mountain. Trail was still boggy mud.
The logs that were laid to give an easier walk also had a drawback in wet conditions – mud+water+wood = slippery! This was not an easy walk. And after about 90 minutes of hiking, it got crazy.
Thankfully, there was a bridge and I wasn’t walking up that stream. 😉
Anyways, the trail did improve shortly before I met up with the new Blyth track. They started using raised platforms to cross the marshy boggy land.
I had made it to the new Blyth track after about 2 hours. Almost halfway there!
To say the new trail was an improvement would be an understatement. It was considerably better to walk along. The open areas had very nice walking platforms too!
Finally, I had made it to my destination for the day – Waitonga Falls.
I rather liked these falls. It was a good snack spot. I thought the double nature of the falls was neat, as was the smaller streams running down beside it.
Now, the tough part – I had to retrace my steps, more or less. That was one negative to doing this hike, it was a there-back again type and not a circular track. And it started to rain. Bleh.
I always bring my rain coat just in case, and it came in handy once again. Upon arriving back to the turn off to the Old Blyth track, I decided instead to continue on along the new Blyth track to the mountain road. It only took 15 minutes, nothing scenic along the way, but I had a plan – walk down the mountain road to my car. No mud! Plus, I was only walking 5 minutes along the roadside before a friendly Kiwi offered me a lift as he was passing by. My first hitchhiking experience here, and I didn’t even try. It probably helps that I don’t look like I just killed the last kiwi that offered me a lift and sold his car off. From my driving here, those people appear to be the majority of hitchhikers that I’ve seen on the roadside. So I got back to my car earlier and drier than expected, thanked the kind Kiwi, and went on my way back to the motel.