Saturday, 7 September 2013

Day 8: Another Mystery? Plus I Complete Raetea Forest

After going through the usual morning routine, I hit the trail. Now I didn't mention this in my last blog, but I've been following cow prints since the Takahue Saddle Road. And as I went from high point (there goes Raetea)
to low point ( ie all the slippery slide stuff on the way down), there were these cow prints, and cow pats.
This all seems weird to me. Did some enterprising cattle rustler drive some cows from Takahue all the way to Mangamuka the hard way to avoid the law? Was it a TAT hiker wanting to be the first to ride a cow across NZ? And then I started to find abandoned clothing. First a sandal and I worried that some ultralighter was now trying to hop the rest of the way. 
And then I came across a singlet. 
It was all starting to add up! Clearly we had a Lady Godiva-type through hiker, who eschewed a horse in favor of a cow and who would ride into towns and espouse the virtues of the TAT. 
I never got to the bottom (no pun intended) of that mystery, although I did come across a few cow bones and one bloated carcass before emerging from the trail onto a farm... With, yep, cows.
There were some fairly large bulls in there, and at one point I had a reverse Running of the Bulls going on, with me coming down a trail with magic walking sticks in hand, and a bunch of hefty bulls running away. I was thinking that at any moment these guys would stop, get into a huddle and agree that they could probably take me out, magic sticks or no, and I would be on the receiving end of a charge, with no groovy tee shirt or scarf that appears to be de rigour in Pamplona for this kind of thing. Fortunately, they kept running, and I kept tramping.
Anyway, I made good progress and reached Mangamuka by 1530, and started looking for a shop to buy food for the next leg. I was getting a wee bit concerned until I finally found the dairy near the Mangamuka Bridge. It was closed. Bugger. A young fella outside the shop suggested I keep banging on the door until someone answered, as a young lady he knew was inside (a flame, perhaps?). Sure enough, someone finally did come to the door and I persuaded her to let me buy some provisions. As a bonus, I picked up some chilled water from the pub next door and continued on to Omahuta, even though it was getting dark. I was keen to make good progress the next day, so despite sore feet I did another 5 kms.
 I fetched up near the Forestry Park HQ.
Omahuta and Puketi Forests probably over the next two days, Kerikeri on the third day perhaps (Day 11?). 
Don't forget, I'm walking for charity (Shine), so please visit my Givealittle page, and share this blog! Thank you. And now it is late (for me, nowadays), and so to bed!


  1. Wow! You are really making amazing progress! So besides the Mistry not been solved, what else have you found interesting? And what has been the best thing that's far? It sounds like the people!

  2. I also enjoyed the running of the ills in Pamplona reference. Glad to know the Raetae forest was not the bear u anticipated! Btw loved the description of ur socks as "aromatic" hahaha