Sep 5 day 5 Ahipara to Digger Valley Road 24 km 7:30-4:30
Started out beautiful, barely a cloud in the sky as the rains had come on hard all night but dissipated by morning. Made coffee in kitchen before leaving, then strolled through town, stopping to get a juice before striking out of town. The first 9 km were on a road, and through the morning, the traffic increased, making for an unpleasant start. Excited about finally turning and hiking on a trail instead of sand or a road. The beginning of the Herekino Forest track was steep but well maintained, but, as the day wore on, the trail wore out. Basically there was not really a trail, just a path marked with orange triangles, but going straight up hills, and straight back down. Very slick red clay, sometimes getting off a bank required climbing in a tree’s lower branches. The surface was completely saturated, and I could make no serious mileage. It was, quite simply, the worst trail I ever hiked. Ended up on a farm road right next to Digger Valley road, pitched tent in the only almost-not-bog place (plenty of cow shit around), found some water, made a quick dinner, and turned in, hoping for better trails tomorrow.