Thursday, 21 November 2013

Days 73-75: Longwood Forest, Woodlaw and Ohai

Day 73.  What a beautiful day! Southland really turned on a cracker of a day. Got walking.
The Longwood was the site for a Chinese gold mining community in the 19th century, 'Long Hilly'. Fascinating to see the water races and other evidence...
Bigger companies moved in, leaving as evidence a stamper, what I assume is a high pressure pipe fitting, and steam engines and tracks.

Longwood has An abundance of bird life- riflemen, tui, bellbirds, wood pigeons. I couldn't get one good pic though!

Thankfully this was not travelling at high speed, so I managed a pic. Can you eat it, and is it a toadstool or a mushroom?

A 'glowing' marker shows the way...

My water source might be a bit suspect?

One of many bridges. On testing, only one seemed likely to fall apart. You may get to guess which one!

On reaching Martins Hut, I opted to hammock camp up the hill. Even as huts go, this one was 'rustic'. No water near the hut either, apparently you fetch it from a stream about 500m away? It cooled down quite a bit in the night, I found myself awake a few times!

Day 74. The morning was an uphill climb  trough what became 'goblin forest', before breaking out into alpine scrub. 

I was low on water, and there were no streams. The ground was boggy and there was lots of moss about, so I could dig or sqeeze liquid out if I had to! In the end I found a puddle on top, and the water was clear. I figured it got lots of UV light, and if that didn't kill any harmful stuff then hopefully all the visible bugs swimming in it would. Extra protein!
It didn't taste all that good, so I disguised the flavour with some vitamin supplement. Yum. Still waiting to see if this was a good call or not!

The meander across the tops was a bit difficult as there was no obvious footpath- there were poles which showed the direction, but lots of scrub in between which slowed progress. Doing this part in low visibility would be quite challenging- you would have to take a compass bearing and just go for it! The views were awesome. Here's what four days of walking from Bluff looks like:
... And what the rest of my week looks like:
Beats sitting inside, eh!

There is no camping allowed in the next 20 or so kilometers, so I opted to stay at the edge of the forest. I've set up my hammock and had a huge couscous dinner, waiting for a storm front that was threatening this afternoon. Apparently it is supposed to rain right through to next week, which farmers are happy about. Meh.

Day 75. Well it did rain last night, a lot! Solved my water problem, and I stayed dry, warm and snug as a bug in my hammock. Sand flies did not bother me as I have a net built in to my was fun watching them do their random search pattern against the net trying to find a way in! Later, the whine of mossies, and the crashing of branches underfoot as a large mammal (red deer?) came through my camp. The constant rain didn't quite drown out the night sounds!

The morning walk was fine, blisters still causing discomfort though. Farmland and road connections through to Island Bush and Woodlaw Forest, both over in a jiffy though. Thanks to Colin the farmer for pointing me in the right direction after a wee nav fail (what markers?).

About this time I stopped to inspect my blisters, and while doctoring myself inadvertantly ripped a large blistered patch of skin off the inner arch of my foot.... I may have sworn. I saw stars, anyway. Much liquid, then blood oozing. Thankfully there was still a flap of skin remaining attached which I could use to cover over the raw wound and pin it there with some tape. Took a bit of a brisk march to 'walk it off'! It was a steep descent towards Strauns Flat Road where I would get a pickup to lodgings and resupply in nearby Ohai.
Bloody sheep. They always run directly away from you, so if you continue on your course, they end up running miles, literally. If they took off at a ninety degree angle, just for 30 meters, they could then just chill out and laugh nervously to each other about not really being scared, they were jogging a bit for, you know, health.
One ewe with lamb in tow must have done almost 3 kms with me. I stopped a dozen times and waited patiently, but they did the same. Eventually I got exasperated and waved my magic sticks and said firmly, 'bloody go left!'. They went left. Wish I had known that would work earlier. 
If you have a closer look at the sheep in the above pic, you will see some farmer got creative with a spray can. I assume it was a farmer, and not a bored country tagger. Can't be too many things to leave your stupid squiggles on in the country, eh.

So I was taken to Nightcaps 4Square to resupply which got me some funny looks from the locals- I assume it was my 'food' selection. You know, instant potatoes, peanut butter, wraps, pesto, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, chocolate and  chocolate....oh, and pain killers! I'm staying the night at Taylor's Lodge which used to be a tavern/motel. Very welcoming and made me feel like part of the family. Tomorrow young Fraiser will drop me back to Strauns Flat road so I can walk through to Greenstone car park, about six days hiking away. Then it's in to Queenstown, resupply and another three days to Wanaka where I hope to catch up with a mate there. Right, enough prattling! Goodnight!


  1. I'm worried about your blisters, and wondering if you have that special bandage that you can stick straight to an open wound? I use it for everything and only discovered it because it was used when Elsie had serious burns when she was wee. I reckon it would help your's called Fixomull stretch. Chemists sell strips of it (not cheap).

  2. HI Pat! Jeez mate, you look like one of those Jap soldiers left behind on the islands after the war ended....Good beard! I take it you are doing the mainland from south to north?
    Hows the kit holding up? Regards, Peffs. (p.s. using Carmen's account... hehe)

  3. Did that dodgy moss water agree with you? I contacted campbell live with an email. You may get a call.