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February 28th
Woodlaw Forest(1771.1)-Longwood Forest(1799.9)
Mileage: 28.8mi/46.3km
Campsite Elevation: 552ft/168m

Elevation chart courtesy of Guthook Hikes Te Araroa App.

We got going at 7am, knowing we wanted to make it to a particular campsite at the end of the day. Doing a full day today will position us well for the remaining few days to Bluff. The sun has been rising later, so it was cool to walk along the farmland just as sunrise was happening. 

I know this is going to sound terrible, but today was just more of the same. There was a forest road for awhile, a bit of road walking, a lot of old growth forest with mud, some open brushy stretches with views, and then a less muddy forest. 


The big event of the day is that we could see Bluff for the first time. If you look closely, it’s the land mass in the distance. The large curve of beach between us and Bluff is beach we will be hiking tomorrow after more time in the forest. 

Bluff!

Although today and yesterday…and the day before yesterday have felt uninspiring and a bit deflated, we are so fortunate to be getting good weather and conditions for this stretch. Last year, at this same time, my friend Why Not had colder, rainy, windy, foggy conditions. For us, it’s been dry here for a couple weeks, so the mud in the forests was more consolidated. We were only in ankle deep sucking mud that had very little puddled water. Just a bit of rain here and I can envision how soppy the mud would be and how much slower we’d be going. 


 

Stewart Island in the distance.

We didn’t see anyone today until the end of the day when we hiked by the final hut of the trail and saw three other southbounders. One of them was Morgan who started the same day we did and actually hitched to the start of the trail with Griggs. We haven’t seen one another in quite awhile, so it was great to catch up a bit with him before we hiked on. The final forest, Longwood Forest, was much better than the last couple. More consolidated, shallower mud, with less standing water.  It was much smoother hiking thankfully. Hopefully, it will stay that way as we finish it out tomorrow morning. 

Since there is limited camping, we are camped in the same place as Josephine. It’s a spot near some old gold mining machinery. There’s room for two tents and Griggs has his tent pitched just down trail 20m away. We all had dinner together, and it’s been nice to share the end with Josephine a bit. We may leapfrog a bit more, but will probably part ways tomorrow night. She has plans to camp in town while we will probably walk on through. We do plan to finish the same day, so we may still leapfrog more over the next few days. 

Well, that’s all I really have for today. We all kinda feel like we are just going through the motions these last few days. It’s a lot of what we’ve done all trail with nothing really new or exciting, and we can literally see the end ahead of us. Just two and a half days left!

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