Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Days 36 - 37: Of mountains and molehills

I was up early (as usual?), had broken camp and was finishing breakfast when a pack of dogs came tearing in. Followed by two hunters, obviously after pigs. We had a chat about hunting in the area, then we were both off on our respective tasks. 
A misty morning, on a misty mountain!

after about three hours gently ascending through some magnificent forest, I was at the peak.
and fairly pleased with my progress. Until I read the hut book of the nearby DOC hut (excellent site for tenting too, with good drinking water), I saw a comment from a 'recon marine' that it took him '1.5. Hours, mother@&$$!'. Excellent mate, and thanks for sharing your enthusiasm. I also saw a note from three Te Araroa thru-hikers from 2 days ago, including the elusive Christophe! 
On the downhill leg of the mountain I ran into 19 people, more than I think I've seen of any other track combined! Great to see young people out on a leadership course with the YMCA/YWCA, clearly not  all in their comfort zones.
Lots of mud to christen my shoes, and the goretex linings really paid off, no mud or wetness inside the shoes!
This is a pleasant change for me, and I am happy to eat humble pie when it comes to my previous scoffing at goretex shoe liners. Verdict is still out on how they will do on hot roads...

Once at the bottom, it was a 17 km road walk to the start of the Waitomo walk. Once there and with night approaching I was happy to hang my hammock in a patch of scrub and brambles. Gotta love hammocks for stealth camping!
And that my friends is the end of Day 36! Looking forward to catching up with old friends tomorrow in Waitomo.. And who knows, I may have a late start and explore the caves in the morning.

Day 37. Today was a bit of a navigational nightmare. It started well enough through rolling farmland.
But soon after I had trouble finding any markers, so followed a track with recent prints that were on the same bearing as my map trail. 
Enventually this joined back onto the main trail. So far, so good!
... And then it went really wrong! Tried to follow trail markers and notes, only to end up in thickets of gorse and mingimingi
... And I was not in my happy place. Further up from a stile I found orange markers again, which lead me on a merry trip up, down and through streams... Past Matakana! So a detour of kms. Meanwhile I heard from an old buddy of mine who had also detoured, with his family, to meet up with me in waitomo. I missed the meetup timing, and did a hurried speed march to finally see them at the Top 10 camping ground. Boy was I happy to get in and to catch up over some excellent wine and a home cooked meal! 
The kids had some great questions for me, and we stayed up til late chatting.
It was a lazy start the next day too, before we said our farewells. Thanks Jules, Donna, Alex and Zoe, great to see you!
It's now Day 38- next stop, Te Kuiti!

1 comment:

  1. What are you using to keep on the track? You can put a line in a gps to make crossroad decisions.