Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Off Trail for Repairs and Beers

Trail Notes Day 14-18

The opening 2 weeks has been pretty harsh and as a result I think we've lost sight of the experience we'd like to have. After a little chat to one's self, the clock is reset. Time to look at the bright side!

I'm the type of person who likes to analyse all the going ons around me just for the shit and a giggle of finding some sort of pattern (or not as is often the case)

We've hitched road sections 3 times now and each time we've been picked up by a local who isn't even going our way. I've found these acts of kindness quite remarkable and moving. As for the type of car that will pick you up, we certainly know when not to bother. Although we had a 2 seater Celica stop today (with 2 people in it). They said wait here and they went and got their bigger car.
Out of towners on posh weekends away don't even make eye contact. Like they're stepping over a homeless person asking for change.
Farmers on the other hand give you a big wave and smile the drive past. Truckies give a bro brow but ain't stopping their rig for no-one (especially on this hill).
No-one has been past in horse and cart yet!

I've really enjoyed today's walk through the river, it was mostly mid calf height but there were a few times it was getting close to the nether regions!  The scenery was pretty, the sounds of the water moving and sunshine dapples really beautiful.  Didn't see any fish, which I'm quite happy about (I'd have had to have got out, they always eat me).
We stopped at a little DOC shelter where we cooked spaghetti tomato sauce with broccoli and mushrooms, herbs and nutritional yeast, scrummy  (promise we are eating well mum).
Paul (France) arrived after we had eaten, he is walking alone and left on the 2nd of October so is setting a good pace, it was nice to compare kit and stories, we hated the same bits :-)

Papakauri Stream

Day 15

Today was another killer. Mentally and physically gruelling.
Started out with the tent wet through. So just packed it away and hoped I didn't notice the added weight. Was a decent walk out of the Russell Track but then hit the deserted roads for about 3 hours before we got a lift the last few km. A Belgian guy, his Papua New Guinean wife and their daughter. Then another hard slog of metal roads before getting to the bush track.

Ran into Adam heading north earlier and he told us this would be a difficult steep and muddy track and that it was. Thankfully nowhere near as bad as Herekino and Raetea.
Out the other side were some beautiful views of bays and islands and some very exclusive properties (if you got a few spare million this could be the place for you). It was getting late and we were looking for a ride out to a DOC camp for the night, only one car went past, he was full of surf boards so couldn't fit us... Laughingly about 10 mins later I said "there's that car" it was below us travelling in the opposite direction "god that's some winding road", but nope, he had gone home emptied the car and come back for us.  
Amazing hospitality here, the husband and wife who look after the site kindly offered to share their macaroni cheese, I thought about it for a few minutes but had to decline, the difficult thing about being vegan.

The hospitality for complete strangers is overwhelming.

May hang out here an extra day as we probably won't be able to walk much tomorrow anyway. Having one of those Danny Glover moments (I'm too old for this shit!)

Food is running low-ish, with 2 days left till we have to resupply. Although I had a mishap and spilt half my methylated spirits in the grass while making dinner. Just hoping it'll last the 2 days. Otherwise we'll be eating raw oats with water (yummy)!

My left knee ouch .... Need to practice ahimsa.

Stars are looking awesome tonight and going to sleep to the sound of crashing waves.

Day 16

Lazy day laying among the clover in the sun to the hum of honey bees.

Had a tiny walk along the lovely quiet cove next to the camp, my knee is incredibly sore, just taking 400mg of ibroprofen today as opposed to the 1000mg I've needed when walking.  We have hatched a plan which doesn't fit with the TA country long walk but our well-being is so much more important. We are going to walk/hitch our way to Whangarei then go straight on to Auckland, probably on the bus.  Taking the walking easy so as to give our bodies time to repair. And hope to pick up the track again from there.
In Auckland we need to try and sort out one of our Zor Nemo mattresses,  the bonding has broken down causing a hernia! Bought in the uk so we will be testing their customer service skills to get us a new one here in NZ.

Day 17

We were planning on heading out over the bush track to Matapouri this morning and hoping to hitch to Whangarei as this road is busier but Lance and Ngaire at the DOC camp had phoned around the community to see if anyone was heading to town. As we were packing Lance turned up to say be ready in 10 we got you a ride. Next thing Jeff and Betty Carson turn up.
The hospitality in these communities is really beyond belief. Perhaps in part to my London living for 15 years and not even knowing my neighbours.
We got into Whangarei so early we went direct to the bus station and got the bus to Auckland, then train to Pukekohe. Currently staying south of the Hunua Ranges at my fathers.
We figure once Sherren's knee eases up we can do the Auckland day tracks at our leisure and as a tester once she's better we'll give Hunua a go before resuming the rest of the trail. Although we do have a couple of plan B's up our sleeves.

I'm missing the trail already (even the shitty muddy bits), I especially love the wild camping without any other souls in sight. But we'll be back soon enough.

Day 18

We slept in till 6:30 but didn't get up till 7:30 for a bit of yoga.

Spent the morning maintaining, cleaning and drying out our gear ready for the next section. Think I'll have a few beers till then and maybe think about reviewing a bit of gear.

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