Running the Paparoa Track in a day
We woke up in Blackball in our tent, stepped outside, tent was surrounded by water, soaking feet already; we knew it would be a big day!
We were very excited to run the Paparoa Track in a day. Johanna and I had run a half marathon (21kms) a few months before and had been slowly building our kms since then; we were ready for the mighty Paparoa (56km).
After breakfast we were in the car and ready to go, we drove up to the Smoke-ho carpark, the start of the Paparoa. Unloaded our gears and good to go! The rain was coming down and we were pumped.
The track was amazing in the rain. Waterfalls were coming from everywhere, a lot of the track was a constant river, a few small creeks were now rivers, thank you bridges!
We made it to Ces Clark hut in an hour and a half, which is certainly faster than biking up there. Two ladies there at the hut had decided not to go on further that day and the rest of their group had gone to Moonlight. They texted ahead to let their group know we were coming.
This next section from Ces Clark to Moonlight tops hut was the most exposed section and the wind made for exciting running! I was definitely regretting shaving all my hair off the week before, it would have made for great head protection!
We made it to Moonlight tops hut from Smoke-ho carpark in 3 hours on the dot. The other half of the tramping group greeted us with Toblerone chocolate. A quick break for some gels and then off to our next destination for lunch at the emergency shelter.
The Goblin Forest was just amazing in these conditions, the clouds made for a super spooky atmosphere and also kept us sheltered from the howling wind. Out of the forest we came onto the escarpment, an amazing rock feature coming out of the mountains, which of course we couldn’t see. We marched on.
Lunch at the emergency shelter was a nice rest, 4 hours 39 minutes after leaving smoke-ho car park. Now time to get off the mountain and into the temperate rainforest we love so much. The waterfall above the bridge was pumping and we were happy for the warmth the forest offered.
6 hours 45 minutes in and we made it to Pororari hut. Here a lady asked me what we were training for!? Was a bit of a shock as Johanna and I had been training the last 3 months for exactly this. If the Paparoa Track in a day is just a training exercise I’d hate to think what the goal is!
Really feeling it after 43kms
After leaving Pororari hut the burn started to come on, snack breaks were regular, music helped keep us motivated and we had to start going slower until about 8kms to go when my legs totally stopped working – I had pulled something and could no longer walk.
It was a frustrating moment, we were so close and had been going for 10.5 hours at this stage and were ready to go home. The weather was coming in again and it was getting late. We figured there was no way I was going to make it out as I could hardly do a few more steps.
Johanna ran out to get help which arrived a few hours later, just in time for dark. Injured and exhausted I made it out; Johanna the wee trooper had run the whole track plus a return trip to Bullock creek turn-off and out again. We are grateful to the calm and collected response team of locals that helped the effort. At the end of the day we were stoked for a shower, glass of wine and the memories we will take of this epic adventure!