I have to reach back several weeks, all the way to mid-February for this hike, but it is well worth documenting. The town of Tuatapere, as I had mentioned previously, had built itself a big, expensive, private, 3-day hike as a means of attracting tourism to the town. And I had the time, just barely, to hike it before friends from Canada arrived. And so one grey morning (despite 3 days of sunshine forecast), I found myself $130NZD lighter and standing at the track start.
That massive spike you see for the track elevation? Ya, that’s a 900+ meter elevation gain. On the first day. It makes for a grueling start. Oh, and it is also 19km in total hiking that day alone. Well, no time like the present to start my trek!
The first kilometer or so being uninteresting forest, I was pleased to rejoin the coast.
And even MORE pleased to walk along the beach for a good 30-45 minutes.
Unfortunately, the only blue skies I would see were behind me. Still, I loved the beach walk.
Then, it was back into the forest. But first, a snack!
Wait, those chocolate almonds don’t quite look right…it turns out white chocolate covered almonds + hot car = puddle. Thankfully, that puddle solidified overnight into a white-chocolate-almond-bar! Crisis averted. And actually, this prevented me from eating all of them in the first day. Rather than just grabbing 2-3 at a time, I would just take small bites instead. It seemed to make the thing last much longer.
The Hump Ridge track is well known for it’s insane amount of boardwalks. By insane, I mean over 10km of the trek is on boardwalk. That’s a LOT of work that went into building the thing!
Fuzzy green forest everywhere.
The lunch stop. Nicely sheltered, it also marks the end of the relatively flat part. For the rest of the day it’s all pain and whining!
But not before filling your water up!
I spent far too much time tossing this bucket down, hauling it up with some water….and then doing it all over again. So much fun!
The forest floor here was like a green carpet, with a small path cut through it.
It even felt really soft!
Generally, a very pleasant first half of the day spent enjoying the greenery.
And then things got really cool looking.
Higher up in elevation, moss covered the trees, making everything look ghostly!
Very cool scenery.
I also had a small bird called a ‘Tomtit’ join me during a break.
They are very inquisitive, tiny birds.
Finally, getting out of the trees for a bit. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHH.
I wasn’t reassured!
That being said, now in the clouds it gave the forest a whole new character.
Good and spooky.
And the moisture in the clouds were great for showing off…oh crap those are spider webs. Hundreds and hundreds of spider webs. I moved through the last section fairly quickly.
Until climbing out of the forest for good. Such wonderful views…sigh. The top of the Hump Ridge was the primary reason for doing the hike. Looks like the forecasts have failed me yet again!
However, the lodge at the top of the ridge most certainly did NOT. A lovely and warm gas fire awaited me, leather couches, a full kitchen and a bottle of beer and chocolate bar. Not a bad way to end a long day of hiking. Not too bad at all.
I went to bed in a comfortable bunk room with dreams of sunshine in my head.