Twig Adventures

Day 48: I love Wanganui and Bouncy Pillows

January 19th Whanganui River (km1390)- Wanganui Top 10 Holiday Park (km1397) Mileage: 4mi/7km paddling plus lots of walking around town. A nero day. I had a big day planned for town, so we got an early start in the kayaks. Loading them in the mud was a chore and then we had to fight an incoming tide. At least we were at the holiday park by 9 am. Along the way, we encountered heaps of crew boats out for their morning row. They were all putting in at a ramp up the river, which we mistook for a crew house but it turned out to be the holiday park. Numerous teams from all over NZ were staying at the park[…]

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Day 47: Kayaks rule!

January 18th Flying Fox campsite, Koriniti (km1344)-Whanganui River (km1390) Mileage: 28.6mi/46km We expected rain all night but it was surprisingly dry when we woke up. The wind was blowing pretty strong but it meant a tail wind for us, so we liked it. We were on the river by 8:30 am but not before packing some takeaway avacados from the overloaded tree. They need some time to ripen. We didn’t make it far before stopping at Down’s hut. This is a historic homestead from the 1920’s, built by Mr. Down of course. I wanted to check it out because I heard the hut book goes back to 2001 and is a record of all the former TA hikers. Sure enough,[…]

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Day 46: Riding the rapids

January 17th Ramanui campsite (km1292)-Flying Fox campsite, Koriniti (km1344) Mileage: 32.3mi/52km I woke in the morning to the sound of something grazing near my tent…it was two deer. I watched them for awhile, so close. Possums had woken me in the night, making their horrible little noises. I could see their eyes reflecting in the trees. There is so much life here, always something different. Thankfully, the deer woke me just in time to see the beautiful cotton candy clouds from the sunrise. I went back to the Captain’s Chair, where I found Black Cat still sitting! He went straight onto my lap and I enjoyed the surise while he served as a lap-warmer. So great! Everyone else was up[…]

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Day 45: Bridge to Nowhere

January 16th John Coull campsite-Ramanui campsite (km1292) Mileage: 18.6mi/30km We had another fantastic day on the water. We only had to go 30 km (easy with current), so we had a leisurely breakfast and weren’t paddling until 9 am. The weather was partly cloudy all day and just perfect. The first part took us through a really scenic gorge. I’ve paddled down many spectacular rivers but the jungle-like vegetation really sets this one apart. It reminds me most of the Suwanee but with higher banks and cliffs. There are also waterfalls and streams trickling down every 100 meters. We made it to Mangapurua Landing by noon. This is where the official TA route begins on the river but it is[…]

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Day 44: On the river

January 15th Whakahoro (km1245.5)- John Coull campsite Mileage: 23.6mi/38km It was so nice to have an easy day for once. I still got up early but I took my time having breakfast and then had time to go to the cafe for the wifi and electricity. It was foggy to begin with but cleared into a sunny day. The outfitter was a tad late but I was glad for the extra time. I was also happy to see 2 Necky Looksha 14′ kayaks arrive, plus all our food bags. There were heaps of other people loading canoes but we were the only kayaks. We easily fit everything into the provided dry bags, listened to a safety briefing, and were shortly[…]

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Day 43: To the River

January 14th Upper Retaruke rd. (km1212) -Whakahoro (km1245.5) Mileage: 20.8mi/33.5km We had an interesting alarm clock this morning. Three bucks came crashing in, snorting and grunting around 5:30am. They did some bunny hops and then took off. Deer are very territorial and we had invaded their space. There is a lot of deer farming in the area, hence all the very high fences. Some have escaped and run wild, which I think these were. In all the time I’ve spent backpacking, I’ve actually encountered territorial deer on several occasions, but I didn’t expect it in NZ. The morning was spectacularly sunny but cool and fresh from all the rain. The road walking was really enjoyable, with no traffic and just[…]

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Day 42: Downhill

January 13th Whakapapa Village (km1173)-Upper Retaruke rd. (km1212) Mileage: 24.2mi/39km We had a wonderful night, with only one interruption from a fierce thundestorm rolling through. The thunder burger was just a precursor! We went to use the very nice public restrooms and took a last look at the cute little town. This lodge made me think of The Shining. The track from the village followed some more awesome boardwalk, with views back towards the volcanoes. The first couple miles were on the ’round the mountain’ route, circumnavigating Ruapehu. Later we would split off from the well-maintained track and just have to walk through the marsh, sans boardwalk, getting very wet feet. But I still really liked the trail since the[…]

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Day 41: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

January 12th Ketetahi TH, Tongariro Crossing (km1146)- Whakapapa Village (km1173) Mileage: 16.8mi/27km plus about 3 miles extra doing side trips to Soda Springs and Taranaki falls; also walking around town. I was so ready for this day to start and so were many others. Cars started arriving at 4 am and there were parking authorities set up by 5 am. We hit the trail around 5:40, glad to get away from that place. The first part of the track was through forest and a gradual climb. Then we broke out into the tundra and really began climbing, with great views of the sunrise. We would gain about 3000 feet in elevation today. The highest point of the crossing is 1186[…]

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Day 40: To the Volcanoes

January 11th Mako stream 42 traverse (km1112)-Ketetahi TH, Tongariro Crossing (km1146) Mileage: 21.1mi/34k Today was all about getting to where we needed to be for the start of the big day…the Tongariro Crossing. I started off by breaking another carbon stake. Where we camped, the ground was so hard that I couldn’t drive them more than halfway in. I got up for a bathroom break in the dark and promptly stepped on one, snapping it in half. Oops. Ti stakes are the way to go. We hiked fast until we came to Mangatepopo stream (we would cross the headwaters of this stream later on the slopes of Tongariro). We decided to have an early lunch and go for a swim.[…]

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Day 39: Full of surprises

January 10th Taumarunui (km1076)-Mako stream 42 traverse (km1112) Mileage: 22.3mi/36km As promised, Glen of Blazing Paddles met us early at the holiday park and drove us into town. I got some cash to pay him for the trip and we discussed what boats we could use. He said he has some looksha sea kayaks, which I hope is the case. He dropped us off at the beginning of the road walk out of town. It was nice to have some company again and the country road was one of the most pleasant I’ve hiked, even if it was drizzling. We passed a beautiful Clydesdale stallion, who was very freindly and not even afraid of my umbrella. Then we came upon[…]

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