Gear

TA Day 30, Rangiriri to below Hakamarita summit – 29 km

A massive Kauri in the Hakarimata Reserve that somehow missed the ax of overzealous lumberjacks.
A massive Kauri in the Hakarimata Reserve that somehow missed the ax of overzealous lumberjacks.

It rained all night.

Maybe it got it out of its system.

I slept well behind Cathy’s Pie Shop even though we shared nearly an entire bottle of chardonnay. She’s a well off Kiwi who lost most of her wealth, but has found her own ‘trail’ after leaving a cheating husband and buying up property to rent.

She loves us trail walkers looking for answers as we walk day after day. She instilled confidence in me that whatever it is I’m seeking would work out and that – like Dorothy – the answers are probably already inside me.

Of course that remains to be seen.

Auckland

TA Day 21, Dome forest to Puhoi – 34 km

The orange triangle leads the way through the steep, overgrown bush of the Dome Forest.
The orange triangle leads the way through the steep, overgrown bush of the Dome Forest.
"Tramping Track" standard reminds hikers the next section will be strenuous and muddy.
“Tramping Track” standard reminds hikers the next section will be strenuous and muddy.

I’m up and out early. Exotic birds becoming friends wake me, but I slept fitfully. It would be a big day to Puhoi, but if I get a burger after this mountain, I think I can do it.

The tent is damp – I’m damp – but feel relatively clean, the feet still managing to move well. Not fast, but fast enough.

Looking down towards Puhoi from Moirs Hill.
Looking down towards Puhoi from Moirs Hill.
Kauri forestry operations in the early part of the 20th century.
Kauri forestry operations in the early part of the 20th century.

Why is it that a kind act, like sharing a beer, gets me all panicky? All the upset of my life is bubbling out of my pores. This walk was hardly an escape, more a coming to terms.

hike blog

TA Day 13, Helena Bay to Whananaki – 25 km

The walk out of Helena Bay is straight up.
The walk out of Helena Bay is straight up.

Walking straight uphill this early morning onto a flower-covered hillside above the ocean. I can hear the waves crashing below. My pants are already soaked because the deep grass is drenched from last night’s torrential rain.

Just as I left the beach last evening and wandered back to the alicoop, a woman about my age wandered by, smiled and said hello. I followed her and asked if she might sell me a beer. She looked dumbfounded, “You need one?”

Yes, in fact I do after all those hot kilometers.

Turns out she doesn’t like beer at all. And and would much rather I share sparkling wine.

Monterrey Pines were imported to New Zealand and adapt well to the rain and fog.
Monterrey Pines were imported to New Zealand and adapt well to the rain and fog.

The next thing I know, I am included with husband, dad and cousin for cocktail hour. Tracy is a midwife, Ben, a carpenter. We natter for hours, and I learn much better Maori pronunciation – like wh is a ‘f’ sound, and that their home on the beach is called a bach, pronounced  “batch.”

Kauri bark has a hammer-mark texture and continuously sheds its outer bark in large scales to prevent climbing or perching plants from gaining a permanent hold.
hike blog

TA Day 7, Apple Dam to Puketi Forest camp – 36 km

New Zealand bush.
New Zealand bush.

Well this <expletive> sucks.

It’s been pouring rain for the last few hours. Nothing is nastier than packing in rain. Guthook gave us 20-some k today, but the notes have it 34! There goes the early start.

The track all day is a forest road. Not hard, just long. C’mon, Al, buck up and get on it. Not supposed to last.

It doesn’t help I dream all night about rock climbing and hanging over vast cliffs. Not a horrible climber, just terrified of heights.

Sheesh.

Ondi spreads out all her gear to make a wrap.
Ondi spreads out all her gear to make a wrap.
Kicking back next to a stream.
Kicking back next to a stream.

I must say the fluting birds in this spot don’t mind it one bit. And, honestly, it’s not so bad once you get out. Musical friends, it’s Elgar and Grieg’s morning music today I’m whistling.

To be honest, I prefer damp and chill to hot sun. I’m already wet and filthy, so might as well walk in good temps. Rumor had it a heat wave is coming for the next three months! Heaven help us.