audio narrative

a chorus of birds from both sides (of the world) now

These things are ours for God creates within our soul a mystic sense of wonder that we may hear allegro tunes among tall swaying cattails.

Gwen Frostic

Before we get to birds, a small bit of business.

So many of you have asked me how to pronounce New Zealand’s “Te Araroa.” This is my hiking-partner-for-the-first-eight-days Irene’s dad’s longtime girlfriend, Vern with her gorgeous Kiwi accent setting us straight on this Maori word.

Te Araroa is pronounced teah ah-rah-ROH-uh and means “long pathway” in Maori

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.


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.