We woke early on day four (December 30th) with the knowledge that this would be the last time over the next three days that we would be doing any more hiking on the road.
It was time to hit the trails of the Pureora Forest and our destination for that day would be the campsite at Kakaho Road.
We started our day’s hiking by walking on a bridge across the Waikato River and then making a quick water resupply at the local service station.
We hiked 13kms down State Highway 32, we took a right on Arataki Road and headed into farm territory.
Despite hiking on gravel roads, this was a nice change from competing with the traffic on the main roads.
After spending an hour on this road, we finally came to the Pureora Forest and an amazing swing bridge with a 20-metre drop to the bottom of the river below.
The next few hours involved us hiking through some amazing rocky trails that involved several hills.
Using the Topo map we had, our plan was to keep following this trail and then take a left on what ended up being an unsigned trail.
At this point in the day, myself and two of the boys (Matt and Nelson) were a little further ahead than our mate, Keith, who chose to hike a little slower on that day.
As we had the Topo map, Keith had a GPS with him with the correct route downloaded onto his device.
Long story short, myself, Matt and Nelson were following the map quite closely and seeing as we were on the lookout for a signed trail, we kept walking looking for one and missed the correct turn-off.
By the time we worked out that we had gone further than we should have, we had already hiked a further two kilometres.
So, after working out we were slightly lost, we calmly sat down and worked out where we were and how we were going to get back to Kakaho Road campsite.
We found our way back to another trail and ended up hiking a further three kilometres to get back to where we needed to be.
Meanwhile, Keith’s GPS had led him through to the correct trail which revealed a semi-broken bridge that he had to cross to continue on to the campsite.
As one of the main organisers of the trip, this situation was slightly stressful initially as I hadn’t banked on having something like this go wrong.
After Matt, Nelson and I arrived at the campsite at 6pm, and Keith arrived at 6:30pm, we went through our respective maps and worked out exactly where the correct turn-off was.
The lesson we learnt that day was that staying together, regardless of how everyone is feeling, is important.
With respect to our situation, and given that we had a Topo map and Keith had a GPS, our day would have almost certainly turned out a bit better had we all had both versions of the area.
That aside, the day was a success. The campsite was absolutely fantastic and overlooked a stream called the Rimu Stream.
It was a great place to filter water and was shallow enough to sit down to do some much-needed rehab.