Stacked packs at the Puhoi Pub.
Auckland

TA Day 22, Puhoi to Wenderholm – 7 km + 1 km

Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.

The barkeep Sean has just asked if I met the ghost in room 7, he carries his head in his hands and has a bad case of flatulence. Whoever my ghost visitor was, he was friendly – and healing.

Since departure is not until 4:30, I took a room and it was the best decision. I took two, loooong hot baths, hung out on this huge covered veranda in a fluffy bathrobe, tried every local beer and cider and generally rested my body and spirit – not too mention finished my next audio narrative.

Sean also told me don’t rush, enjoy your stay and has allowed me to just be in this beautiful place. It works for them as there are no other guests in the hotel – except the ghost – but still, there’s an incredible generosity that has made me emotional to the point of tears. Even Judy the housekeeper who walked in on me early this morning when I had my isolating headphones on, said just stay and enjoy, that she would get to my room later.

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.