Sunday, October 30, 2016

Update to 30 October

23 October

We started the day with a hot shower and breakfast and plenty of chatter while Peter gave the motor home a wash. Whangarei doesn't have the cable Peter needs to connect his new tablet to the drone, nor does it have a spare battery for our GoPro but we did manage subway for lunch while K and P had sushi.

This afternoon we have moved around to Marsden Point as the start Point for tomorrow. Lovely day off.

24 October

This morning was quiet and still with no wind and very high cloud and it was low tide. A good day for walking the beach. We left Marsden Point at 8am and by 9.30am had reached Ruakaka where we had a cup of tea with P and K and then biked to Cullen Road via a quick lunch in Waipu.  We hitched a ride for 5 kms up Cullen Road as its a steady uphill climb, firstly on a sealed road then onto a metal forestry road toward the start of the Brenderwyn track. The track crosses a high point on the Brenderwyn's and we were able to get some really impressive views back north to Whangarei Heads, south down the coast past Mangawai and west to the rural countryside of northern Kaiwaka and Brenderwyn.

We managed to complete the track by 3.30pm and so have chalked up a respectable 15km walk (Bream bay beach and Brenderwyn trail) today and a 22km bike ride. Our km tally to date is 478, we will have to try to hit the 500km mark tomorrow as we complete the Northland section of the Te Araroa trail. We are achieving the goal of a 20km per day average. So far so good!

25 October

It was an early start today so that we could complete the Breamhead/Managwhai walkway and then have time to walk the Pakiri beach before high tide this afternoon. We left K and P at 6.40am and spent a good 2 hours tramping largely through a steep sheep farm before exiting for breakfast with them at the northern end of Pakiri in the rain.

It had started raining lightly overnight then settled in for the day. Today I saw a good sized lamb, probably half as big as its Mum, run straight through and 8 wire fully battened fence. We got driven from there to Te Arai point as our previous plans to bike that bit went by the way with a sense of tired bodies and wet weather.

Getting us to Te Arai Point was really helpful and allowed us to complete the beach walk a couple of hours before high tide. It was still pushing us slowly up the beach into soft sand and harder walking. There were not many birds on the beach, we saw a couple of dead penguins and lots of jellyfish which had been washed up. We had a small stream to cross half way down the beach which required boots and socks off then it was boots off again to cross the Pakiri river at the end of the beach which was almost as high as my legs go.

We parked up to prepare for the next few days to get us to Puhoi but not before celebrating our 500km achievement and the end of the Northern section with wine and chips with our superior support team.

26 October

Last night we were parked up on the roadside near the start of today's track up Mt Tamahunga. The track was 11 kms and when the notes say steep and slippery they mean it. The track in many places was really muddy, thank goodness for good boots although mine on one occasion were not quite high enough and a small trickle of water spilled in.  It rained on and off and before each shower was a chilling wind so we walked almost all day with full wet weather gear on.

We were both impressed with our progress through this tramp and when we met up with K and P on the roadside to exchange our light packs for our not so light ones we were both happy to keep going and so we started the Govan Wilson to Puhoi valley track, eventually stopping in the bush just after 5pm. We went as far as we did because the track and gradient were both pretty good and we figured once we stopped we wouldn't want to get going again. Both of us finished today feeling tired but satisfied with a good days work/walk.

We managed half of the noodle dinner with a cup of soup and then by 6.30pm we were starting to hunker down as the rain started up again and it became quite cold.

27 October

We slept pretty well last night in the bush and after a cup of tea and porridge (again with sweetened condensed milk added) we headed off once agin into wet muddy slippery steep country. We both felt pretty tired and our pace was slower than yesterday. We frequently found ourselves looking up or down a very slippery slope and its no wonder some folk do ankle and knee injuries in this terrain.  We gradually moved into dryer country and found some of the track went along a forestry road. Even though it was all uphill we were thankful that when you put your foot to the ground it didn't slip or slide from there.

From there we found ourselves climbing up to the Dome summit and lookout. By now we were making slow but steady progress and it was a relief to pop out at the Dome valley cafe mid afternoon. We ordered food and drinks and the old bloke there told us that a young French couple had arrived just after 5pm the day before. They must have been speeding because they only left about half an hour before us yesterday morning and they had done in a day what took us almost two!

We had our 'dinner' and then as we were leaving the cafe a couple in a campervan called out and asked us if we were doing the Te Araroa trail. They were friends of Hilton and Melva in Ngungaruru and she had done the trail the first year it opened. They offered us a cup of tea but with full bellies from the cafe, we moved on.  They are not the first,we have had a good number of people ask us if we are doing the trail as we walk by.  People who live along the trail certainly seem to know about it.

The old guy at the cafe advised us of a camping spot up the road and so we have taken the opportunity to stop here tonight. It's just a flat section of mown lawn with a 'camp' sign on the power pole at the entrance to someone's property.  Nice that they keep it mown and let TA hikers stop here.

28 October

It was early to bed last night and we fell asleep to the sounds of gun fire as the locals here were apparently out possum hunting. With an early night we were awake early and on 'the road' by 7am.
We have spent a lot of the day walking public and forestry roads as well as some farm land and bush track.  We left camp with little water and so we had to refill bottles at a roadside drain. The water was flowing well and we sterilised it so we should be ok. Today's walk took us 9 hours and with a hot day we had that water finished and so next refilled in a small stream about an hour out of Puhoi.

Yesterday the wild life we came across was stoats. We had two run across the forestry track in front of us. Today we came across two very young goats as we climbed Moir Hill.  Another of today's highlights was seeing, way in the distance the Auckland sky tower and Rangitoto Island and we could also see the sea on both the west and east coasts. These are the benefits of climbing so high. There have to be some rewards. Seeing the sky tower makes us realise how far we have come.We have taken less photos in the last few days as the scenery is so similar and the vast views just don't look the same in a photo as they are so far away.

Puhoi was a welcome sight at 4pm and we enjoyed a shower in the motor home before heading across the road to the  Puhoi pub for dinner. This evening we're organising to sort out the Auckland section and we are thinking we will miss Auckland out and take a few days off to give the body a break before heading into the Hunua's and then on to the Waikato.

29 October

Today is a rest day and K and P took us to Silverdale where we waited for Claire to collect us at 3pm and take us to her place. We managed to get washing done and boots cleaned, the tent dried and bodies showered. Craig and the boys arrived to see us and then we had a lovely dinner before an early night. We're still both really tired.

30 October

We slept late. Tony had just come back from a motorbike trip to the South Island yesterday afternoon so he was tired too and we all enjoyed Claire's cooking and baking and slept some more

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Update to 23 October

18 October

I didn't post anything yesterday. We were taking a break after having completed the Morepork trail into Whananaki. We enjoyed a long sleep, hot shower and a stroll along the estuary walk back to the point where K and P had picked us up the previous day. K and P called around in the afternoon for happy hour and to collect the packs we would not need for today. We ate lots yesterday too. We bought bread, eggs, fish, baked beans etc from the little store next to the camp despite it being pretty expensive. It was really good to have a rest day, wash a few clothes and plan our next few days walk.

Today we left the camp at 7.30am, crossed the walk bridge between Whananaki North and South. The sun had just come up and the tide was almost full, there was no wind and no one about. It was a beautiful morning. The walk followed the Whananaki Coastal walkway trail which took us parallel to the coast through farmland and a very clear and well maintained track. In some parts it was mower grass and other parts metal road. We met Liz at the junction to the Bougainville walk and walked with her until we got to Matapouri where we bought a hot pie and flavoured milk for lunch, yum.

This afternoon we are kicking back thinking that 15 kms is enough for today. We are parked up beside the beach enjoying the sun. The next stage is the Matapouri bush walk which we will prefer to start in the morning.

19 October

We were up early enough to see the beautiful sunrise this morning. Looks like another lovely day. We had breakfast with K and P, packed up the tent and headed off to start the Matapouri bush walk. The walk took us through farmland, pine forest and plenty of native bush with some steep descents and climbs. The single trail area were still muddy but not as wet as the Morepork trail so there was no sliding. We took our time stopping for rests and photo opportunities with our lunch stop being at Tane Moana, a giant kauri just off the forestry access road and protected from kauri dieback by a board walk surround. It is a big tree but surprisingly not too far up to the first branches.

Leaving our lunch spot we were surprised to see a couple of baby wild pigs on the track. They were still pretty young so mum must have been around somewhere close. Once before while mountain biking at Rainbow Mountain we also came across two small wild pigs. Those ones had their mum there and they were black whereas today's piglets were a mix of black and grey. Maybe a bit of interbreeding with a domestic pig. It wasn't far past there that we entered farm land and then followed the metal road down to Ngungaruru where there was an ice cream waiting for us. K and P picked us up in Ngungaruru and drove us out to Hilton and Melvas where we parked up for the evening. We need to repackage for the next few days stretch down to Whangarei harbour.

20 October

I'm sitting in a deck chair looking out over the Pataua estuary having been fed freshly smoked kahawai caught this afternoon and just enjoyed a beautiful hot shower. From this seat I can see people collecting shelf fish and locals riding their horses along the beach. Who would have guessed the day would end like this?

K and P dropped us off this morning at the start of the forest track which was 13 kms out of Ngungaruru.  The track had two river crossings, both times we changed our boots for sandals and it took us 2 hours to complete the track through to the road section which goes all the way to Pataua. This section was tough on the feet. We were walking on a tarsealed 100km road with no shoulder to speak of and despite being told last evening that the locals would give us a ride, there was little traffic and no ride.

We were walking onto the approach to the Pataua walk bridge when a guy rode up on his bike and asked if we were doing the trail. When we said yes, he offered us fresh hot smoked fish and a place to stay for the night complete with the aforementioned hot shower.  This guy is Stephen and he's the ultimate trail angel. He watch out for walkers and then offers snacks to eat, or a meal, shower, or place to pitch the tent.  All he asks in return is that you hand the favour on. Stephen and his wife Connie are just house sitting here from Auckland and happy to support trail walkers. We slept in the garage laying our sleepy mats on the concrete floor.

21 October

The tide determined our start time today a we needed to get across the Taiharuru estuary we got there in time to catch a few photos of a pretty sunrise. The estuary was hard going with a deep sticky muddy surface which tended to suck your feet in. We wore sandals and the cockle shells worked their way into the sandals too. We had no trouble crossing the channel with the water only knee deep at best for short people. Once on the other side we cooked up a cup of tea and some porridge. We added sweetened condensed milk to the porridge, yum.

Our walk then took us straight up to the trig at the top of Kauri Mountain which rises to a height of 245 metres. It was a good solid haul up there. Just as we hit the top a solid shower of rain came through for a little while as we descended through the bush. We followed the road down to the northern end of Ocean beach where we paused for an hour and a half waiting for the tide to drop so we could get across the small estuary there. Just over the estuary we came across a huge flock Bar-tailed godwits and managed to get heaps of photos as we expected them to fly away but they didn't, they just moved away on mass from us, like sheep.

The beach walk was great and we walked it in sandals.  We could see the end of the beach and it only took us 2 hours to get to the southern end and to the car park where K and P were parked. The sun shone, there was a bit of wind but still pretty pleasant. Today we've done 18 kms.

22 October

Today we spent a solid 6 hours climbing Mt Manaia and Mt Lion leaving from the southern end of Ocean beach and finishing at Urquarts Bay where once again K and P were waiting for us and again a very welcome sight for us.  I had underestimated the walk today, thinking we were climbing the mountain and then descending. Not an unreasonable assumption if you don't read the map and notes carefully. We climbed Mt Manaia first and it was a good stiff climb for us, then the trail followed the ridge along to Mt Lion, which although the other local trampers notes suggested this was an undulating walk, it felt more up than down.  Maybe it's the horror of looking forward and seeing another climb ahead when you feel like you've already run out of steam.  We stopped for a half hour lunch break at the top and added jelly beans along the way as the energy levels flagged. I found it really hard and we were only carrying day packs. I feel for those TA trampers who have to haul their full pack up there!

Once saved by K and P we were transported to Anne and Rogers for a shower, hot meal, computer time and the chance to feel normal again. Time for a day off.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Update to 16 October

13 October

We left the NZMCA camp this morning next to the Rainbow falls this morning and we headed down the Kerikeri river track to the Stone Store. This was a really fabulous walk, easy going along the river edge and through native forest and of course slightly downhill. We had planned an easier day today to rest the new blistered feet. We stopped at the Honey Pot cafe for morning tea before then heading onward on the Kororipo Pa track where we circumvented the Pa site before finding the DOC track that would lead us down the Kerikeri Inlet road toward tomorrows start point which is the beginning of the Russell Forest. Today has been a real delight, the weather is staying perfect with fine, sometimes overcast skies and we are looking forward to the forest section tomorrow.

On our return to the NZMCA park we met up with Stephen and Uenwha (we had previously referred to them as Mr Chch and Mrs S Korea). We shared contact info as we have been meeting up regularly and plan to keep in touch ongoing. It's great to catch up with those who are becoming friends through sharing this journey. Mike contacted us via email today to say he was suffering blisters and had hitched into Kaitaia to his car to take some time off and let them recover.

14 October

The Russell Forest was an undulating easy tramping track through pine forest. Once again I tried my Keen boots as I had two days ago but once again they hurt my feet and so I changed out to my shoes with additional tape, now on both heels, big toes and under the soles. It makes for sore feet all the way. We walked through to Mt Bledisloe where we were able to look out to Russell. We met three maori men there who suggested we visit the Hururu Falls. They said they were a horseshoe shape and there were only two horseshoe shaped falls in the Southern Hemisphere. The other one being the Niagara Falls. I think he was drunk.

Anyway we walked down Te Puke Rd and took the turn toward the falls. The falls were great despite the rain having started but as we checked our map we realised that we had taken the wrong turn from Te Puke Rd and the trail doesn't even go to the falls. We missed Waitangi by taking this wrong route and so walked via the road into Paihia. It was probably a similar distance, maybe slightly longer.

After a pie and milk drink in Paihia we walked around the coastal track toward Opua where we found K and P waiting for us just before the hill climb to Opua so we hitched a ride. By now I was starting to flag it, despite the food I was getting pretty tired so they were a very welcome sight.

We took the ferry to Russell and then drove around to Waikare where we freedom camped beside the landing. This is the start of the next section. Just as we were having dinner a boat arrived to the landing with Silvan, another hiker. Silvan comes from Switzerland and is hiking the trail alone. We shared stories through the evening before collapsing into bed once more.

Before dinner we had packed our big bags for the next stretch which tomorrow will take us up the famous 4 km river walk.  Thank goodness I learned to take a toilet stop with the pack on while we were walking 90 mile beach.

15 October

Wow, what a day! We left Waikare landing at 8am and walked about 4 kms up the gravel road. There was no traffic in this very remote area. We did see many dead cars along the way and also as we entered the bush area. We met up with Silvan after only about half an hour and we walked with him all day today.

We reached the river just on 10am and changed into sandals to do the wet section. The trail follows the river for 4 kms and every now and then it leaves the river and climbs through the thick wet bush on often very slippery. The trail was very hard to follow with infrequent markers and what trail was there was very overground. The water was cold but crystal clear and usually ankle deep although in places it was over the knees.The river walk took us 2.5 hours and we were pleased to come across a shelter for lunch where we were able to dry our feet out and change back into boots/shoes for a walk out to Papakauri Road, testing our fitness with a big hill climb.

Once on the road there was really nowhere to camp and so we just had to keep on going.
We have completed 20kms of the trail then we walked another 2 kms down to the Whangarei camp ground with tired bodies, especially feet. The first shop we found had us all eating double scoop hokey pokey ice creams. We set up camp, had a rice dinner and ready for bed before dark.

16 October

I slept really well and Warren pretty well despite the party music on til late in the camp. There was a big group who had taken part in a fishing contest at the camp and they partied loudly apparently. We rose, had a shower and breakfast said goodbye to Silvan and gradually got organised to walk through to Helena Bay. The morning was fine and warm and the day inviting. We left the camp at 9.30am and walked the hill back almost to the main road when who should appear around the corner but K and P. They were a welcome sight, we had a coffee with them and the rode their bikes the 7 kms to Helena Bay. From there it was a long 11km climb to the top of the hill and the entrance to the Morepork -Onekainga track that goes through to Whananaki so we hitched a ride up in the camper picking up Silvan early on in the hill climb.

Somehow it was decided that we would do this section this afternoon as it was only an 11 km walk. The trail notes said it would take 4-5 hours and we headed off at 1230.

This section has to be the worst we have done and it took me to the limit. The trail was very steep up and down with 3 steep climbs to 218 metres, 174 metres and 227 metres. The views from the last high point was spectacular out over the bay but the effort to get there was huge. The track was very muddy and slippery and with a steep gradient both up and down it made for a tough walk. Barley sugars saved the day this time as the energy out was far more than the energy in over the last few days.

Again we walked the trail with Silvan and it was good once again to have his company. We are learning about Switzerland and he is learning our native flora. As I was flagging Warren was able to phone and asked K and P to meet us at the end of the road and they drove us to the camping ground 2 kms down the road. I booked us in for two nights. We need a rest

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Update to 12 October

7 October

So much for that last comment about it being sole destroying walking into the weather, we had a 12 km walk into Ahipara today with pretty wild weather consisting of very strong winds coming round to being on the nose by the time we arrived at the beach end and horizontal driving rain showers. These two days have been a real test for our rain gear which has performed beautifully. We had replaced our gortex coats with Kathmandu ngx3 coats which are much lighter and we hoped they would cut the mustard.

We had a good nights sleep in the cabin through a boisterous night, before heading out into the weather.
We left at 9am hoping to make Ahipara before the tide was too high and although the high tide wasn't until 1.30pm we only just made it. What a relief to get to the other end and have achieved the first leg of this journey.

The beach has shown us both its best and worst moods. The vast amounts of foam on the beach was impressive and we know how much wind it takes at sea to create all this cappuccino froth.  We've seen the water a beautiful blue and an angry grey and the sky colours to match. Would it have been too easy to have tail winds and sun all the way?  There was no problem with water supplies as all the streams were running well from the recent rains and we had plenty of food with our daily rations being more than we appear to need at the moment. Its been early to bed at night and awake at sun up - what do they say? Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Maybe a few more early nights are needed.

8 October

We've just had our first night in the camper with Peter and Kath and we're appreciating having their support more and more. What a luxury to arrive in Ahipara yesterday to find them there waiting for us. We were whisked off to Kaitaia where we had lunch and then a restful afternoon in the camper followed by curried sausage dinner. Today is a rest day, or zero day (no distance covered) as through hikers like us call it. Is it too soon to call ourselves through hikers? We've loaded day packs and boots for tomorrow's walk which will be through the Herekino Forest.  Second leg about to begin.

9 October

We left later than planned this morning as Warren woke and indicated that he thought he needed another day off to manage his blister pain. After breakfast and a bit of a round table discussion we decided to set out and bike the first section of the next leg. We left from Ahipara and rode out to the  mark where the walk enters the Herekino Forest. There we met a couple of young Germans who had hitched up the hill and were about to enter the trail. They had also had a day off yesterday after arriving in to Ahipara on Friday afternoon.

Having completed this first section we decided to ride around the forest and carried on with K and P driving just ahead of us all the way. We managed a good days ride calling it off mid afternoon when the bodies got tired and the gravel road hills got a bit too hard to ride. So we rode 28kms and walked an additional 3 kms up a long uphill gravel road section. Peter put the bikes back on the van for this part to make the walking easier.

Given that we were initially going to take the day off we have made good progress, had a good workout, and were happy with the decision to circumvent the forest walk which is reported as being in poor condition with lots of mud. Chances are we may do the same with these three forest sections between Ahipara and Kerikeri.

10 October

Today we walked an 8km section of the trail through recently felled pine forest and via a metal road down to Takahue where we met up again with K and P for morning tea. We then jumped on the bikes and rode out to SH1 stopping for the day at a freedom camping site beside the stream just before Managamuka. Its been a lovely day, both of us still have blisters and the biking is a pleasant relief for these. We've decided that with the forests being marginal due to excess mud and our sore feet that we would ride around these forests. That means that we get to do additional kms but easier.

Today our total kms were 29 and yesterday 31. The highlight of today's bike ride was the descent from the top of the hill where SH1 goes over the Maungataniwha Range. We had about 5 kms of windy downhill which put huge smiles on our faces despite chilling us down with a cool breeze.

11 October

33 kms of road riding today on SH1 all hills so a slow slog up at 8kms an hour in granny gear then a roaring 40-50km down hill. K and P kept just ahead of us providing directions, food and drinks and encouragement. Thank goodness for a support team!  Along the way we met Mr Chch and Mrs S Korea, ( we named them that as we don't know their names yet) and we were thrilled to see them so we had a catchup on the road edge. They were making their way through the forests on foot and told of the deep and relentless mud along the way. They too are hoping to make Kerikeri tomorrow.

We called in to Puketi Forest DOC camp this afternoon and spent a bit of time rearranging our contents in the van which have taken up so much room including all the front passenger seat meaning that K has to sit in the back. Hopefully that's sorted now. I think we brought far too much hiking food although I am sure it will get eaten.

12 October

Leaving Puketi Forest DOC camp we walked initially on a quiet gravel road before entering farm land. As a result of the recent rain, the farms here are still quite wet with lots of plugging from the animals. We have travelled quite a bit on roads today as well as climbing through farm land to a spectacular view of the Bay of Islands. We stopped for lunch at the top of the hill and had a bite of lunch and aired the feet for half an hour. The walk down to Kerikeri got longer as the feet got new blisters (me) and the body felt tired. Just did 21 kms today but it felt like more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

3 October 2016

Today's the day! The night was long and a bit disturbed, I slept better than Warren but both of us pretty excited about starting this journey. Maybe also a little anxious about what's ahead.

We have had a lovely two days trip from Tauranga to Cape Reinga with Kath and Peter.  We stopped in Auckland at the BP on the Northern Motorway and had a great catch-up with Craig, Tony, Quinn and Dylan. K and P's son Dane and his wife also met us there so we got to meet some of each other's family.

Saturday night we stopped at Roger and Anne Cann's in Whangarei for a fabulous dinner and great company and then Sunday we drove through the rain, and thunder and lightening through Kerikeri wondering what the weather had in store for us from now on.  By Maunaganui the sun had come out and we stopped for the compulsory fish and chips and as we pulled in Peter noticed the rear outer tyre was flat. A quick visit from the AA and we were off again.

We arrived at Cape Reinga about 5pm, checked out the view from the top car park and then settled into the Tapotupotu DOC camp ground where we pitched our tent for the first time this trip.
The rain had gone, the skies were blue and the stars came out in full.

Today we headed out from camp at 0815 but with taking time out for photography at the light house we have missed the chance to scramble around the first rocky outcrop onto Te Werahi Beach as the tide is just too high. We knew we were pushing it but enthusiasm and the need to get going got us here early.  We will sit back here in the sun and gentle breeze til the tide has turned which will be about 4 hours I expect.

We managed to scramble around the rocks at 1pm and set off for Twilight Beach arriving at the camp on the Southern end.  We've had the best day! The weather has been great and the scenery stunning. The sand dunes, the beach, the blue water and white waves, the scrubby grassy sections were all more than we expected.  We met up with other TA walkers and the walking community is growing with American, South Korean, English, Irish, and kiwis. All of us decked out in the same uniform, Marino tops, shorts, boots or walking shoes, walking poles and new packs, and all wrapped up in a ton of enthusiasm and excitement.  We have had a fabulous first day with bodies still in tact.

4th October

We woke to find the cooker not working.  No porridge today or even a cuppa. So we left Twilight beach at 8am and climbed 4 kms over the Scott Point which was a bit of a climb first thing in the morning through some mud puddles (unavoidable wet shoes) and then down a series of steep stairs to the beach. No I didn't count them but wished I had by the time we reached the last one. Then we were officially on Ninety Mile Beach. Yahoo!

There started the long walk. Today we pushed on to the Bluff Point camp arriving a bit tired and foot sore at about 5pm.  We walked around looking for the camp, finally finding it a little further around the corner.  No blisters! We just got the tent set up and had a hot dinner after Warren realised he hadn't screwed the cooker cylinder on tight enough this morning, when the rain started. Lucky us.

4 October

Today was all beach walking. All 30kms off it. The rain settled early in the night and although it was a bit windy overnight we slept pretty well. We set off at 8am and walked until midday when the tide was high and the walking on the sand became too soft to be easy. We stopped on the beach and before long we were joined by another couple doing the same as us, taking a rest to have a bite of lunch and waiting for the tide to turn. As it happened all 4 of us fell asleep on the sand and the tide woke us up lapping at our feet and packs.

The afternoon walking was great, good rhythm with the music playing on our iPods. We arrived to Hukatere at 5pm to find K and P waiting for us with a lovely dinner. Warren has a blister.

5 October

After breakfast with K and P we bundled up the tent and reloaded our packs mindful of the weather closing in and the rain looming. With tender feet and tired backs this is getting harder but we knew it would hurt for the first few weeks.  So Warren has a nasty big blister on each heel and so today we only planned to walk 17 kms to Waipapakauiri.  As we headed off this morning the heavens opened. The rain pelted us from behind as the wind was really strong blowing the sand onto our backs at about 40 kms (that's our calculated guess). It wasn't too cold and as the morning drew to a close the sun came out.

We have stopped tonight in Waipapakauri at a Holiday Park in a cabin with a shower. We will put the feet up for the afternoon and all going well we will head off for Ahipara tomorrow, weather and blistered heels  permitting.

The trail is fabulous so far, already it's better than we had imagined.  The slow pace lets you watch the birds, say hello to the odd seal, sing along to the music and get into a really nice walking rhythm that just slowly picks off the distance. Even through the rain the walk was good but thank goodness we were going the same way as the wind. I think it would be sole destroying walking into weather like that