Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Aparima Hike

After another "long" week at work (about a month ago), we decided to get out and finally take a nice hike.  Or as the locals say a nice "tramp".  We chose a 6-km round trip hike up the Aparima river toward the Takitimu mountains.  We can see the mountains from Otautau, and we want to summit them badly! So we chose this track thinking we would at least get close to them and give us some idea of the trails.

We started off from our parked car, went through a little private land to get started, but then mostly just walked up the banks of the rushing Aparima.  We had a nice view of the mountains for a lot of our trek.  There had been lots of rain so the ground was wet and the river full, but finally we had a nice sunny day with no rain for the hike.

The trail was very well beaten and very well marked, so we were never afraid of getting lost in the New Zealand bush.  The trail headed into the forest and gave us some relief from the sun.  We didn't bring any water because we thought it would be a leisurely hike.  HA!  Always bring water...  It led along some high cliff edges and we could look down on the river.

The woods was vibrant with life and new growth.  Large mossy areas covered the forest floor.

The forest opened to a clearing, a flat plateau.  The ground went from dry sand to swamp, but we managed to find a reasonable path.  The mountains ever-looming, never seemed to get any closer.

Looking down at our feet as we walked, something was scurrying away from us lightning fast that we couldn't get a glimpse of.  They turned out to be lots of small brown salamanders sunning themselves and the dry sand and rocks.  They ran for cover when they saw us coming.  We got lucky and this little guy posed briefly before running away.

After 3km or so we came to a wire bridge that crossed the river.  Not very big, but nice and sturdy.  Only one person at a time please!  We did not tempt fate.  One at a time it was.

This one's for you Cindy!  When you come down maybe we will make you cross the wire bridge... :)

At the other end of the bridge, tucked into the trees was the little Aparima Hut.  It had old bunk beds it it and can house up to 8 people or so.  Old stove inside for heat, but that's about it.  Not fancy but would get the job done.  This was as close to the peaks as we were going to get that day.  They were looming now, just another 2-3 km ahead.  Only water here was rain collect of a tin roof in that black drum, so it was just going to have to wait for now.  We turned back the way we came.

The view back from the Aparima hut.  You can see the steel cable bridge over the river in the distance if you enlarge the picture.

On the way back we took a brief trip off the track and out of the tree line to take a break on the rocky river bed.  Took our shoes off and dipped our sore feet in the chilly river water.  Could only stay in the water for a minute or so, it is SO cold here.  People have to use wet suits to swim in rivers or sea here.  Tempting to drink, unbelievably clear, but no Giardia for us!

Finally got back to the car, wonderful 4 hr hike.  Drank all of Cole's water at the vehicle... :)  One last look back at the Takitimus before we leave.  Someday Takis... Someday...

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