Up at dawn again as we all knew we had a big day ahead of us. We just didn't know how big.
We walked down through Takahue and then up a long metal roads up a hill to the start of Ratea track. Very steep.
The first summit was Ratea at 744m and then bog after bog between going over some 727m, 638m, and 445m summits.
Incredibly muddy, slippery, steep, the whole way through.
We would have got away with it if the track hadn't mysteriously disappeared at the bottom of the last summit. After checking our GPS we discovered that the GPS line diverged from from our path at the top of the last summit so back up we went until we met up with two more people (Heather and Chris) so back down we went to double check our opinion. They concurred so back up we went.
I should point out that by this time we had all been walking for at least 12hrs and the sun was about to go down. None of us were in the best of form. At one point on the way back up I threw myself down and said,"I'm having a rest and then I will go up to the summit and camp there for the night!".
After a short rest I scrambled back up the track only to find at the top that the others had decided the GPS track was no good and that the track we had just ascended was actually the correct one.
This was confirmed when Heather and Chris called a friend who had been through a couple of days before.
So back down we went. I was feeling slightly better now that we had some instructions and back down the hill we slid until late we got back to the point the trail disappeared, turned our head torches on and dived into the bush following Chris with his GPS.
It took about an hour, a creek, supple jack, and Bertinna getting a stick in the eye to convince us that we didn't know where we were or which way to go and decided to set up camp for the night.
- There is water at the base and on the way up the hill to Ratea Track. Fill up at every opportunity. You may have to camp in the middle of it.
- A couple of people took a left where they should have taken a right. It's a good idea to check your GPS after you take a turn. I can save you miles of backtracking.
- The GPS line from the top of the hill was wrong. Hopefully it has been fixed now. However, it would have led us out if we had of kept following it.
- We shouldn't have tried to walk through the bush at night. The camping idea was a far better one.
- There are a lot of dogs at the farm house. Avoid them if you can but if you can't don't worry to much about them. Lots of barking but no bite.
- Ratea was a sort of coming of age for the T.A. community. It was the start of many conversations, to the point where you're tired of hearing about it. Loads of people had a bad time and this became a common bond.