By now I’m sure some are wondering if I’ve fallen into the Pacific Ocean and become victim to some sea-bound creature. Alas, I have not. Instead I have hiked 525 kilometres and have spent 18 days with very, very few showers. As a result of having been away from the world-wide-web for so long, i will take informing you of my adventures in installments, broken down by the accumulating mileage, which when in kilometers, seems to add up pretty fast, hey?
140-230km: From the unexpected trail magic I received in Takahue, I headed deep into the Raetea. It’s a dense forest, a deep dark abyss that rolls over ridgelines and descends low into valleys. Up, down, up, down. Repeat. It was a fun track, and after several hours I was reacquainted with daylight. From there I passed through a small town—all luxuries have closed up except a small “dairy” (which is basically equivalent to a convienience store)—and then back to the forest. There, numerous Kauri trees grew thick in girth and soared effortlessly into the sky. They are an impressive species, one unique to the north/ far north terrain of New Zealand.
When not beside these noble giants, the trail has taken on many forms. One of which traverses the lengths of creeks. Treadlessly, the route walked up the Mangapukahukahu (say that 10X fast). A few kilometres later, I came to a junction with a river and a bewildering guess as to where to go after. I saw the blaze across the river, but no DRY way to reach it. Without reading my notes thoroughly, i secured all my belongings in a waterproof garbage bag, slid into the river, and swam across. Once on the opposite bank i felt triumphant, that was until i looked back and saw the blaze and a more desirable route walking across a shoal. Eh… My way was more fun.
That night i decided to brave something more challenging that swimming across a river with a pack on: a campground. I was seated at a picnic table—taking up desirable space for arriving car campers— when a woman walked up and asked if I was through hiking. Indeed i looked the part, with minimalistic gear, a weathered and/or haggard appearance and a general total happiness for sitting down for a change. Turned out the woman was also thru-hiking. Karla is a Kiwi, living in Upper Hut, and is spending three months trekking the north island. It was perfect timing in our meeting as i was longing the companionship. In fact, I’ve been longing it since the beginning, but whats a girl gonna do? Cant wait around for that prince charming forever, now can i? Anyway, we shared a campsite, one stationed in the far, far meadow of the camp and by morning we were walking 20k’s to Kerikeri. There we hiked through beautiful pasture where sheep grazed and rivers strolled lazily down the valley. Before we said our goodbyes, we had an incredible moment of trail magic: fresh plums! Right off the tree. Juicy, ripe, delicious. We ate our share, said goodbye and i continued on my merry way to KeriKeri.
When i reached town, after walking through the backyards of homeowners (oddly enough the official trail), in addition to paralleling a river with spectacular waterfalls, i reached Kerikeri. But instead of going into town, i walked up to a cafe. Instead of spending wasted time walking into town, i took a few takeaways from the cafe and continued my uninterrupted hike. Sometimes i just don’t want to be bothered by town and all the hustle associated. Sometimes i just want to keep walking. And thats what i did. Overall, good section.