Stopped for lunch by bank of the river at a very pleasant spot after what hopefully is the last road margin for a few days at least. I’d waded across to sit on a log with my bare feet cooling in the gently flowing current and was enjoying my freshly prepared Ham and egg salad sandwich when the Eels showed up!
I swear the bigger one was making a bee line for my little toe but I managed to get my feet out pretty pronto. Whilst not the biggest eel (some are as thick as my leg) it still came as a bit of a surprise! They hung around for a while “sniffing” (maybe it was the pungent odour of my feet) and even came out of the water onto the log I was sitting on to get at me. Now thats a reversal of my usual encounters with fish. I threw a few crisps and pieces of cheese in to distract them which they ate, then the bigger one got miffed with the smaller one and grabbed its tail in its mouth and dragged it off downstream, I took this as my opportunity to make a quick getaway.
8.30pm Hanua forest, about 350m up on ridge
Didnt quite make it to the Wairoa Dam, Dammit!. No, I’m pretty happy to be freedom camping in the bush and glad I left it till later to set off as the late afternoon/evening walking is cooler. I’ve still sweated buckets mind you as it has been very up and downy. The river walk after my eel encounter was really nice with views of the river and shady enough not to need hat.
I’ve made 2 “detours” today, both about 600m so not too bad. First was walking up the road from the river track to the Massey Track where I didn’t see the expertly hidden track sign on the right (you can only see sign if you look behind you). the second was having to backtrack when I realised I’d lost my map and notes. They had fallen out of my pocket, luckily a bloke coming up behind me said he’d seen them and put them by a big tree about 300m back down the trail. I said “why didn’t you bring them with you , you dimwit” …no I didn’t I thanked him and headed back down to retreive them. The reason I had them in my pocket was because I’d met three very pleasant girls from Chile (as you do) who were dressed in some beautifully bright summery clothes and sitting prettily on the side of the trail as I slogged up grunting and sweating profusely. They weren’t sure where they were and were debating whether to turn back. Never needing a second invitation to be chivalrous to damsels in distress out came my GPS, maps and trail notes so I could pinpoint their exact location for them and calculate they would need at least another two hours to do the loop they were planning to have done. It was 6pm and they had no gear so I suggested they may be best turning back We chatted about what I was doing and I asked where they were from. Chile is a country I’ve always wanted to visit and apparently it does have a national walking trail, fortunately it is not the entire 9000km length of the country. Sounds interesting So Marie ….we could be walking in chile too one day.!