Day 4: Mahuru Cottage to Martin’s Hut

Welp. Today sucked. It started off badly because I didn’t eat breakfast. Derp. But actually that was ok for a while. Into the forest we go! Finally some dirt walking! Oh wait this is graveled. Ok then.

At some point, I don’t even remember when, it became regular dirt trail and that was fine by me.

This day was really long though. Throughout the day there were many a technical gap crossing, including several log bridges, one of which was especially sketchy because it was rounded and narrow and there wasn’t anywhere to put a pole for balance.

At some point along the trail there was a long section of bushwhacking through dense ferns. This was actually fine. They’re easy to push through and while slightly annoying to try to use poles through because they keep getting caught on stuff it was ok. Until I tried to put my left pole down and it couldn’t find anything. So I stopped and tried to find purchase. There was none. There was a very steep drop to the left side of the trail that could not be seen due to the fern coverage. I checked where my feet were. Directly on the edge. If I’d stepped even an inch to the left I would have had a bad time!

This was after the point where I actually slipped down into a hole earlier trying to whack through some ferns. Then, because I couldn’t see the trail and that was a clearer spot, I thought maybe that was where I was supposed to go, only to take a step in and find myself knee deep in thick, gloopy mud.

What felt like years later I finally reached the road at the end of the trail. My map showed me at about 2km to the hut and I was happy as all get out that my day was done. Except it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact the hardest part of the day was still ahead. This day was a mountain finish and I still had to climb he mountain. So I started walking up the road, thinking it would be fun to try to get a pizza delivered to the hut. But then the road went from decent to bad. And from bad to trail. And when it changed to trail there was a sign that said “Martin’s Hut 30min”. My heart sank. I didn’t have 30 seconds left in me, let alone 30 minutes. I thought maybe the trail would be flat and I could just stumble my way there. Nope. Straight up. The map distance indicator went from 500m to 300m to 100m and still I had no indication of an end in sight. Fearing I had passed the hut I kept stopping not only to rest but to see if I’d missed it. The last 100m felt like 100 miles. Finally I reached the sign indicating that my day was nearly finished. 100m to the hut, and it looked nearly flat.

As I made visual contact with the hut I was happy but also sad. This hut is not up to the specs of standard DOC huts. The 2 ladies I’d departed with in the morning had already arrived and informed me there was very little water and could only be gotten by fishing a bottle out of the rain barrel which I could barely reach! And the water was not very nice looking.

The stream that the trail notes said would be nearby as an alternative water source was not to be found. So trying to clean clothes or self was not really in the cards.

I finally got some food in me. Half a pack of angel hair pasta and some powdered soup mix. It ended up being mostly glommed pasta and I was choking it down by the end, but I finished it. And the water, after filtration, despite still looking like hell, actually tasted ok, so there’s that.

Inside the hut it was pretty dingy, but the beds were damn comfortable and no leaks in the roof.

Today was a super rough day. I’m glad it’s over. Despite being Day 4 it’s more like day 3 because it’s the third consecutive day on the trail. And the last time I did anything like this I had major day 3 blues. That third day went from worst day to best day. This one isn’t going to be best day, but I did manage to push through.

Because of how exhausted I was all day, I didn’t get many photos. Here’s a couple.

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