Start: Aickens Carpark
Finish: Locke Stream Hut
Distance: 18km

I did not want to walk today. I woke up and my heart wasn’t in it but still I packed my stuff and boarded Bill’s shuttle again at 7am for a lift out to the carpark.

We set off across farmland to the Otira River where I got a bit confused about the markers but thankfully Jacqui led the way and we soon started walking through forest. Nothing like a lush green forest to cheer me up, I soon found my smile again.

We followed the track to where it met the Taramakau River and then it disappeared. It’s hard to know if we lost the official track or whether there just weren’t any markers, but for the next 6km along the rocky riverbed we didn’t see any orange markers. We marvelled at the orange rocks and the most hanging around the hills, enjoying being back in the wilderness.

Eventually we found our way back to the 4WD track and followed it briefly before turning up the side track to Kiwi Hut for lunch.

Then we headed off again, following the track through the valley, alternating between the forest and the riverbed, chatting to the 9 SOBOs we met and laughing at Jacqui’s Forrest Gump impression.

We then took a wrong turn and ended up rock hopping up the river to the hut, instead of following the easy, shorter track through the trees, but hey, at least we made it. We laughed at all the rat-themed notices around the hut, thankful that there aren’t any rats here at the moment.