Just walked a couple of km with Jan and Pete Gleeson. They are kiwis living in Teal Bay and they were just heading out for their morning walk when I ambled past and I joined them for a chat. They are really supportive of the Te Araroa trail going past their house (they had put a sign up but it had blown down). Turns out Pete’s dad was the All Blacks Coach in late 70’s and was the coach who won the Grand Slam tour to British Isles in 1978. Unfortunately dad (Jack Gleeson) was diagnosed with cancer soon after he returned. They were really nice and commended what I was doing, I gave them my blog address and said it should also be on the Te Araroa site too. When they came to the end of their route they pointed me in the right direction and reassured me that there was a camp and at least a dairy in Whananaki where I heading today. I’m just catching my breath as they were going at a cracking pace!
I managed to get away about 7am from Oakura after boiling 2 eggs in a kettle one for brekkie and one for lunch. My intention to hitch back to main road to rejoin the trail evaporated when not a single car went past. I feel the best i’ve felt to date and cracked on to Helena Bay, almost went astray when saw sign to a cafe 5km ahead but unfortunately this was the wrong way. Met a lady marathon runner training for the Rotorua marathon, stopped for a nice chat and I gave her some of my water.
9pm Whananaki School (campsite during holidays)
A BIG thank you to Brenda, Kerry-Anne, Zane and little Mac for being so kind to invite me over for a few beers and some scrummy dinner after what was a mammoth hike today. You kiwis are the best! Brenda was mum to Zane and Mac and Kerry Anne her friend who’d come to stay the night. Brenda owns a hairdressers in Whangarei and Kerry Anne was a personal Assistant to a GP in Kensington. Spent a pleasant evening chatting which was a great tonic. The campsite here at the school was ideal as it was only $10 and had all the amenities, the money also goes to help the school funding. The main camp opposite looked really full so the school option rocked.
Think I managed to pull off a 30km day including some pretty tough ascents and descents in the forest. One section was as steep as I’ve come across to date and I had about 5 rests as my lungs were bursting. 11 hours on the trail and I’m pretty knackered, after 4 beers a bourbon and cola, and a good feed courtesy of Brenda, Kerry-Anne and Zane I’ll sleep like a log.
The Morepork forest was a real mixed bag, some prolific native bush and level paths made for perfect walking, there was also scrub bits and then the the big uppers and downers. One section of no more than 200m also had 5 streams to cross and I couldn’t work out if these were the same or different streams. Tomorrows route is in clear view, it’s the super long Whananaki wooded footbridge across the estuary. Brenda has mentioned that there may be a cyclone coming through tomorrow or Tuesday so I will try to push for Pataua by Tuesday. I’m pretty chuffed with what I’ve achieved today and my body is coping well and blisters have hardly featured.