I made a big mistake, but no one was injured, or suffered particularly. Just climbed to 700 m on the wrong farm track.

I was dropped off at 2 pm at the start of the track. Except it wasn’t marked by any signage. I was relying on my LINZ maps. When I say maps, it was because it was just a few hundred metres on one map, then swapping to another. Later it would switch back and forth again.

Surprisingly the four-wheel-drive track was quite overgrown with tree lucerne, but I met a couple of four-wheel drives and it all seemed reasonable. Somehow they had come down a different track I now realise, but my GPS showed I was on the correct track, I kept walking. Unfortunately a fine new track showed itself and I somehow was diverted onto that.

I plunged on ahead. I checked the map and my GPS. I was on the track.

About the 600 m elevation mark I seemed to be much higher than I should be, and at exactly 700 m I stopped and for once put the maps together.

Yup. A dead-end track. The wrong track.

Well, I could continue on and do some bush bashing across to the other ridge, or keep climbing up to 1300 m and walk through grasslands, but there was the possibility of not finding water on the ridge top, and having an awkward night.

So, the combination of an overgrown track, the actual track chopping and changing across the two maps, my general state of tiredness from late nights and early mornings, and blindly following my GPS, had the consequence of extra energy expenditure.

I decided the simplest thing would be just to go back down to the river I should have crossed. I had crossed the stream, but not the actual river.

Now it is so very obvious.

So that was the start, that wasn’t.

I’m all good, I found some water, whacked the tent up and will get my act together tomorrow morning. Another hill climb, up to 1200 m before dropping down towards the Clarence River.

Today was simply practice.

Day 2 | Warden Hut, road to the Clarence River →