Friday, 10 October 2014

The Wet and Wintery North

Day 7

Up at 6 we checked the weather and have moderate winds and scattered showers for the next 10 day, so with that being the best on offer we got dropped at the Herekino track by Bob and Noeleen.
Sherren had a good start by making a wrong turn at 30 meters. Once back on course, we had a decent climb that tested the lung capacity. From there on in this track got gradually worse. There was a caution sign at the beginning due to the wet weather but this was getting a little ridiculous. We stopped counting in the end but would estimate there are over a hundred muddy bogs on the trail due to pig rooting and at least 40 fallen trees. Boots have virtually no traction due to the mud and even with poles you lose your footing frequently. Expect to get muddy and make your own track where possible, you'll save time and it will be safer.
Now this track is passable but extreme caution should be taken by anyone walking, especially nearer the Diggers Valley end (the last 500 meters in the bush took us an hour). On the up side the track was clearly and frequently marked.
We camped off the side of the track just before the end. It's cold and wet and we'll be expecting much the same all the way to Kerikeri. Hope summer kicks in soon.
Thai curry for dinner and an early night. We'll be ready to roll first light.
Sherren wins the competition with 3 falls to Glens 0!  No injuries.

Day 8

After a pretty crappy nights sleep stirring at every sound thinking the pigs were invading (after a couple of scares yesterday) woke to the dawn chorus, I heard the call of Tui bird, sounded like it was riding a clowns bike at the circus, squeak, squeak, honk. And the Morepork owl calling its own name or expressing its hunger.
The walking today started off on unmade roads, Sherren's knee was hurting and the whole thing getting her down, we walked these roads for 4 hours without seeing any traffic.  Then what should be the fun bit began ... More of yesterday less the pig damage.  It is tough going, very wet and muddy, lots of fallen trees and branches making very slow going. We were hoping to make it at least 2/3rds of the way to the end of this section (SH1).  Realising this was never going to happen we were keeping alert for tent space.  Finding a space right on the track at about 3.30pm we decided to play safe and stop, given the state of the trail the hopes of finding another would be slim. Plenty of water in the streams but there is nothing when you start getting up off the road so fill up early.
I am having a bit of a day of reckoning, I really want to do my yoga every day but have only done it once in the last week.  My knee really hurts especially downhill.  I can't enjoy the views as I am constantly having to look at my feet. We said that we didn't want to forsake our daily Ashtanga practice and am now considering how we attack the trail with this in mind as at this rate it is impossible.
Cathartic realise over.
We are now in the zipped together sleeping bag, there are no signs of pigs here (fingers crossed) and hopefully we will get a good nights sleep.

Day 9

Made it out the bush with an extra day needed for Raetea. Tired, broken, cold and wet through. Tried hitching, no takers for a couple of mud soaked through hikers. Walked back to Raetea north side camp for the night. Little shelter so cooked dinner in the toilet at the camp while the rain drove down. Happy days!

The View from my Bathroom Window

Day 10

After another night of gale force gusts decided to skip the next section and head to Kerikeri. Just too dangerous with the fallen trees.
Got a quick ride this morning, literally the first car - The Salvation Army Bus - onward Christian soldiers and all that. They were awesome!
Making plans for the next sections now. I feel a little bad for skipping some but the weather and track has just been treacherous.
I'm not feeling bad about skipping, after all we are meant to be enjoying this ...
We are now having a beer at the Central Backpackers on Cobham Road and planning a veggie and tofu stir fry and thinking of what it to do on our first wedding anniversary tomorrow?
As well as sorting out our onward journey.
Looking forward to yoga in the morning and the promise of some nice days of walking to come with a continuing yoga practice .... Yippee 
Met another tramper today, the first so far and it was nice to share muddy tales.

Day 11

Our first anniversary today and my 1 year vegan anniversary too.
We slept till late (7:30), drank tea and coffee for a bit then got stuck into some Ashtanga. Really nice practice and not feeling like we've lost any flexibility for the lack of practice. Still, it's a daily routine and that it should stay.
Planning to head off in the morning. Bit of rain on the cards but that hasn't stopped us yet.
Kericentral backpackers is a really chilled and easy going place to stay. Not too far off trail, right in town, close to supermarkets and decent rates too.


We left our snow baskets on our poles for walking 90 mile but these work pretty good in the soft mud too although not guaranteed as they may also end up bogged down with your boots.
Poles will help and hinder in similar proportion in the bush so you make the decision. I often threw mine ahead and crawled on hands and knees for the really difficult bits. 

Day 12

Up at 6:00 for another Ashtanga practice before breakfast, wash, pack and we were gone by 10:00. Figure that will be our usual departure time from here on in.
Waitangi forest wasn't as nice as I expected. Too many pines and forestry roads but the wetlands in between were nice and good views of the bay. Was also surprised to see a golf course and a bowls club at Waitangi given the cultural significance of the place. A big up yours to the locals if you ask me.

We had a nice walk down the waterfront and crossed over to Russell on the ferry then walked around to Orongo Bay Holiday Park. Slightly off trail but the cheaper option. Cool little camp ground with some cheeky Weka running havoc all over the place. One even took a liking to our tent pole while we were trying to put it up.

We'd been expecting rain all day but it held off till we got to camp. So we had a tea, cooked dinner then sat around as long as we could before putting the tent up. Now it looks like 2 days of solid rain. Hoping it doesn't interfere with tomorrow's leg as this has a river crossing and a 4km stream walk. Will wait till the morning to make the call.

Monument on Waitangi Track

View over The Bay

Day 13

Having an everything pisses me off moan day.
The iPhone won't hold charge. Shuts down in about 2 seconds after dipping below 50%. Suspect it is the 3rd party charger we have. Been trying to get an apple charger but just can't find an authorised seller anywhere. Not even the mobile phone shops are allowed to sell them. May have to wait till Auckland.

Absolutely pissing down all night and today. Weather forecast is a load of shit. Every day they say clear tomorrow and they update it to rain overnight. The Metservice actually says sun protection is required today. Not a bad as we have 4mm of rain per hour. Get to work on my rain tan. We've had 1 rain and wind free day in 13 which was in Kerikeri.

Yoga this morning was a little hard going on a cold stone floor at about 9 degrees. Just took it easy.
Will stroll into Russell a bit later and grab a beer. That should lift the mood a little. 

On a more positive note we started to walk to Russell (about 6km) when travelling in the other direction came 'Juice' who stopped picked us up and drove us back from where he'd came, what a lovely fella.  
it is now 7pm we are back at the tent after a couple of pints of beer and a huge packet of chips with salt, vinegar & ketchup… the rain has stopped and forecast is good for the next couple of days, barring any disasters we are good to go in the morning. 

Fill it Up Mate!

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