Twig Adventures

Day 58: The Wellington zero that was anything but relaxing

January 29th Ngaio Mileage: about 8km walking around I had so many chores for today that I was somewhat dreading my first day off since Taumarunui. Like that last one, it was busy, busy. I woke up early just to write postcards, then set off for downtown so that I could pick up my bounce box. I couldn’t get it yesterday because it was Sunday. I went to the post office only to discover that the box pickup location had changed to another office, back on the other side of town, from which I’d just come. At least I got the postcards in the mail. I also had to visit the Icebreaker store in the area. Unlike the store the[…]

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Day 57: North Island Complete!

January 28th Ngaio (km1711)- Island Bay (km1733) Mileage: 13.7mi/22km (more like 16 miles with all the additional walking) I was not at all excited about having to walk the final stretch of trail through Wellington, not after the big day yesterday. I was literally dragging my feet. I got to slack-pack it at least. I didn’t leave the house until after 11 am but once on the trail, I perked up a bit. It wound through a stream valley and then up along the city greenway (an undeveloped green belt that farsighted city planners set aside over 100 years ago). Then the route marched me through the botanical gardens (free entry), past the cable car, observatory, and down through an[…]

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Day 56: The big penultimate step to the finish

January 27th Paekakariki Holiday Park (km1662)-Ngaio (km1711) Mileage: 30.5mi/49km My big plan for the day was to walk the 50 kms to the Hart’s house, just off the trail at km 1711. That would leave just one more short day to finish the North Island. Ok, by trail distance it was 49 kms but 50 sounds better, plus the extra walk to the house definitly put me over the mark. This would be my biggest day on the TA. I’ve only walked over 30 miles in a day once before, and that was in flat Florida. I had dropped nearly all my weight, so slack-packing would make it go easier. By that account, I was also kind of committed to[…]

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Day 55: A grand day for new pettings

January 26th Pukeatua Track (km1630)-Paekakariki Holiday Park (km1662) Mileage: 19.9mi/32km I was really refreshed by a good rest in my tent, looking foward to a day that involved country roads, a river, an estuary, a beach, and then dunes. The morning was beautiful and started off with some friendly horses. This momma even whinnied at me and baby was keen to nibble on my stuff. Does a baby horse count as a new animal petting? Well, if not, then I have a few more that definitely add to my count. I found this sign unexpectedly on the side of the road: They had me at animal park. I could also here exotic shrieks eminating from the place and just had[…]

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Day 54: A day of recovery, sort of

January 25th Waitewaewae Hut (km1608) – Pukeatua Track (km1630) Mileage: 13.7mi/22km Despite being really tired and the hut being very quiet, I didn’t sleep well. At first it was too hot and all night the mossies were plaguing me. I’ve determined that there are only 2 noises that keep me awake anymore…really loud snoring and mosquito buzzing. I thought there were only one or two, until I killed half a dozen in the morning, with many more evading me. My poor hut mates heard me slapping at them all night. Sorry for the noise, guys. Chalk up another night when I would have been better off in my tent. I took it easy and didn’t leave the hut until after[…]

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Day 53: One big day

January 24th Te Matawai hut (km1587.5)-Waitewaewae Hut (km1608) Mileage: 12.7mi/20.5km I woke and packed up early, hoping to do a big day, by Tararua standards. I was the 3rd to leave the hut at 7 am. Most make a day out of getting to the second hut, which is only 12 km away. Nichols hut has just 8 bunks, so for this reason, I wanted to try to push to the 3rd hut along the route at 21.5 kms away. Even at elevation in the Rockies, I’ve easily done such a distance by lunch before. However, this would turn out to be one of the hardest days of hiking I’ve ever done. The morning was completely clouded over and the[…]

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Day 52: In the Tararuas

January 23rd Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre (km1569)- Te Matawai hut (km1587.5) Mileage: 11.5mi/18.5km I slept pretty well and everyone was very quiet. I woke up early and sat on a couch, trying to catch up on the blog. I was pretty far behind. After breakfast, John came by to give us a lift into Levin. I again bought way too much food, but I was unsure how long the Tararuas were going to take me. It is only 45 kms through the range, along the TA route, but it is very high, exposed, and slow going. I’ve been warned to expect to make about 1 km per hour in some places. This is probably the most difficult section I come[…]

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Day 51: In the bubble at Makahika

January 22nd Burttons Track and Whare/Tokomaru River (km1543)-Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre (km1569) Mileage: 16mi/26km We had an easy day planned to get to the Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre. This is another must stop and see, trail angel type place along the route. We figured we’d use the shorter day to go into the nearby town of Levin for resupply. It was a rainy day all day. I started out with my umbrella but put it away because the rain was too light to bother. We had a few climbs through forest, along with a short stint through gorse. The rain made the trails a bit slippery but the mud was manageable. My new shoes are no longer blue, though. Connor[…]

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Day 50: Halfway

January 21st WhioWhio Hut, Palmerston North (km1505)-Burttons Track and Whare/Tokomaru River (km1543) Mileage: 23.7mi/38km plus about 5 km walking around Victoria Esplanade After a nice early breakfast with Fiona (she had to work on Sunday-she’s a radiologist at the hospital), we packed up and headed out. We first needed to go to a small grocery to get a few item for the next 2 days. Then I convinced Connor that we needed to explore the Victoria Esplanade, which is the local park. I visited on my first trip to NZ and remembered it to be an excellent park. It seems to have gotten even better. We found the flying fox straight away, which entertained for a few rounds. We also[…]

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Day 49: Riding the roads to Palmy

January 20th Wanganui Top 10 Holiday Park (km1397)-WhioWhio Hut, Palmerston North (km1505) Mileage: 67.8mi/108km We woke up excited to be off early for our big cycling adventure. This was T3 of the TA triathlon, where we traded our paddles in for wheels…big fat mountain bike wheels. I know what 60 some miles on flat roads with a road bike feels like, since I used to ride that distance training for triathlons. Cranking a fat tire bike over rolling countryside with a pack on for that same distance was going to be especially taxing. Oh, and no bike shorts to protect my bum…what was I thinking when I cooked up this idea? Well, not having to walk for 3 days straight[…]

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