Oct 8 day 38 Ngaherenga campsite to Waihaha hut 34 km 7:15-5:15
Whew, what a day that was. Started out of the camp fairly early in a cold misty rain, followed the Forest Trail bicycle path for most of the morning. You can see where a lot of trail building money went, that path is amazing: graveled, well drained, bridges. Made for a good morning, but soon enough the TA veered off and much of the rest of the day was ridge hiking. There were supposed to be many points to see Lake Taupo and Mt. Ruapehu, but in the rain I couldn’t see a km in front of me. What I could see were amazing trees, as the trail wound through old growth forest, with lots of Totara trees which are overwhelming, just the place one would expect to meet a Totoro. Was feeling good and hiking well so decided to try for the Waihaha hut. Glad I’m here now, but probably should have stopped and tented earlier. In the last four km I had to ford a stream and do a couple vertical ups and downs, both slippery and steep. Finally caught up with Jan, another thruhiker I’ve seen in some lodging logs. Tomorrow I should cross the 1000 km mark– one third through.