Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Te Araroa, days 11-19

Te Araroa trail, days 11-19, not necessarily corresponding to pictures.

Kayaking from PaiHai (pie here) to Waikere
Day 11 I arrived in Keri Keri after 25k of road walking. Camped at a campground. Took the next day off (d12) to rest my blisters, email, do the last posting and to purchase a new camera.

Mangroves at the end of a long inlet, Waikere New Z Land, Te Araroa trail
If I said I liked my Panasonic Lumix in the past, forget it. Expensive, heavy, state of the art and well cared for and it broke in under 6 months. I've moved on to Olympus and so far it's every bit as good, half the price and much lighter.

This guy, Nick I think was his name, was awesome. He's worked at 'by the bay' rentals for years and is an awesome host, making phone calls and references for people, renting marine gear, providing information and finding a way to carry our boats back after a one way trip that would make the trip less expensive. He went above and beyond. The girls I paddled with were a bit slow and he had to do some waiting around so we tipped him 10 each and he gave it to the boss. A better employee there has never been.
dbBrad in the jungle. When the road ended it turned into a trail and when the trail ended it became a stream. I hiked in this stream for 4 km until the trail left the drainage basin and climbed up a long slow endless climb to a ridge with magnificent views of the inside of rain clouds!
dbLaundry. Washer and dryer all in one!
Day 13 hiked 25k to PaiHai to meet the two other hikers Madeline and Phlip for our Kayak journey. Getting there a bit late and missing them, I camped very near the rental spot as to not miss them in the morning. Since I was on a small beach in a town, I decided not to set up my tent and about 3am regretted that decision. It rained hard and I started getting real wet so I crawled under one of the catamarans for an hour or two more sleep. Waking up I looked like shake and bake chicken because I was soaked and the beach shells and sand were all sticking to me, everywhere! Sorry, no picture of dbShakeNbake--I wasn't finding it nearly so amusing at the time.

Heading south from Sandy Bay, New Z-land, north island, Te Araroa trail.
Day14 camped in a field after kayaking 17km and hiking 2 more. This is where I met Paul and Jordan and where I charged my camera at the PJMH (pajama clad man's house-see posting on people).

A very wet dbBrad with custom pack cover.
Day 15 another 19km day hiking off and on with Phlip and Medalin. They appear to be two peas in a two pea pod! After an entire day of listening to the chatter, they never asked me a single question. We all camped near a lovely stream at the intersection of some overgrown roads.

A gas pump for cars and boats both!

Day 16 I left the 2 peas. I decided if I'm not going to talk to anyone, I'm going to get the benefit of peace and quiet while I do it! It rained like hell this day and the faster I walked the harder it rained. I finished off 24 clicks and got a ride on pavement for about 10 more. The 34 k took me all the way into Whananaki where I found a store and a porch to sit on. I slept right there next to the floating gas pump and when I woke up I was still soaking wet!

A 400 meter foot bridge across an estuary between Whananaki north and south.
Day 17 I camped on the grassified dune separating parking from beach and cooked dinner with Will under the shelter offered by his hatchback. We watched people surf until it got dark then the parking lot went from full to empty in about 15 minutes leaving us as the only guardians to one of the finest beaches I've ever visited.
One of the many fence crossings along the Te Araroa trail, New Zealand.
Day 18 I ended up in Ngungaru with little money and a need to cross the harbor to continue the trail. Seeing little options, I caught a ride east to Tutukaka, one of the easier New Zealand names to pronounce. There is a harbor there so I pounded the docks looking for a ride down the coast.

Along the coast, south of Wooly Bay, Te Araroa trail.

A rainbow and a surfer from Sandy Bay

dbBrad's camp site, Sandy Bay, and the best MSR tent (Zoid 2) ever made!

Just a simple day in New Zealand along the Te Araroa trail.
Happy cows taste better!
The epiphytes here are incredible.

The rugged east coast of New Zealand with Poor Knights Islands visible in the distance.

Few people to ask except the commercial diving charters who weren't about to go an inch out of their way for a lonely hiker, let alone risk beaching a million dollar boat so I could hop off and keep my pack dry. So I camped at the boat launch rising at 6:30 hoping to find a small boat being launched that could get me where I wanted to go. Not a single boat launched this morning and at 10am I bagged it and headed for Whangerei to get cash, do some blogging and get some real food.

Day 19 is tomorrow and I'll resume the trail Ngunguru Ford Road unless a kayak falls from the sky.

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