Thursday, November 17, 2011

First day of the TeAraroa Trail

Te Araroa, the long Pathway home. This is an understatement!!  Its an amazingly long journey just to get there! Just getting to New Zealand from Seattle was a 38 hour adventure if you don't count loosing a day from crossing the international date line. But Auckland is still much further from Cape Reigna than I thought.
Cape Reinga and the Light House where Mauri spirits journey to after death.

At 8:30am I loaded a bus in Auckland that arrived in Paihai just after lunch. The drivers changed but the bus went on to arrive at Kaitai at just before 4:00pm, almost 8 hours on a bus.

Paihai pernounced 'Pie Here' at the 'bay of isles' NZ

 From there I walked across town to find a small local bus that would take me up to Pukenui, another hour's ride on bumpy twisty roads.

Jack, Quinn and dbBrad in  Norfork Pine, the most perfectly growing trees and wonderful for climbing.
On this little empty bus I met Jack, a young man with a skate board and we talked about education, New Zealand History and Soh Cah Toa (the rules of sin, cosine and tangent).  As it turns out, he was getting picked up by his mother who invited me to stay with them about 15 minutes further up the road @ Waihop and their house where I was fed, entertained and given my own place to sleep and shower in a small dwelling unit which was attached to the back of their barn.
Jack, Quinn and Ella

The family consisted of Parents Jane and Darren and 4 awesome kids, Jack, Quinn, Ella and Tai. Tai is only 2 years old, but Quinn and Jack and Ella and I climbed up a Norfok pine, perhaps the most perfect trees I've ever seen. Ella at 7 stayed on the bottom branches while the three of us climbed some 80-100 feet to the top of the tree.

The Rippingales cottage on the back of theri barn where I statyed.

Tomorrow is now today, Saturday and as soon as I finish this posting I depart for the far north. There are no buses here so I will have to hitch hike the remaining 45 km to the cape where I will finally begin my trek, almost a full week after departing Seattle. The first stretch of this five-month hike is the 90 mile beach. It's actually only about 50 miles and is said to be a very special place for the Maori as their ancestors from all over Pacific travel to this place after death.

90 mile beach which aftter walking for three days straight feels like 900 mile beach!
The weather is in the mid 60's, with scattered clouds. Sunset is at 8:11. Quite the contrast from Whidbey Island with temps in the low 40's and sunset at 4:30. NZ is 21 hours ahead of PST here on Whidbey.

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