Twig Adventures

Day 62: Like a nero in Havelock

February 2nd Havelock (km1818)- Pelorus Bridge (km1839) Mileage: 13mi/21km Several factors made my decision to slack-pack today an easy one. One, my package of extra food had not arrived but was likey to come today. Mail is apparently only delivered 3 times a week here: M, W, F. Second, the forecast was for some more unsettled weather today. Third, both Wired and WhyNot did a version of this plan in order to wait out the weather and/or line up schedules, so I got the inspiration from them. I would leave most of my stuff at the backpacker and do just a 21 km road/farm section to the Pelorus Bridge, then hitch back. I woke up early as usual but tried[…]

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Day 61: Stormy weather

February 1st Up from Torea saddle (km1781.5)- Havelock (km1818) Mileage: 22.7mi/36.5km As I feared, the wind came up through the night. My site at the top of the ridge was pretty protected but not enough for the strong gales. You sleep pretty poorly when your tent is constantly shaking or the trees around you are waving wildly. There were some branches banging together all night, like wooden wind chimes. I was ready for the dawn and already packing up before it was light. I felt a sense of urgency and wanted to beat the rain while my tent was still dry. I was on the trail by 0630 am, which was good, because I just got a glimpse of the[…]

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Day 60: Cruising on Marlborough Sound, TA-style

January 31st Queen Charlotte Track (km1741) -up from Torea saddle (km1781.5) Mileage: 25mi/40.5km I don’t have a lot to say about this day. It was just a nice, cruisy day. It was just starting to cloud-over when I woke up. Another remnant tropical storm is moving over the SI, with the main impact being Thursday and Friday. I was actually happy for the cloud-cover, as it wasn’t as hot. The trail wound all around Endeavor Inlet and then up onto the main ridge. Just before going up the ridge, I stopped to load up on water. There are 2 campsites on the ridge that are supposed have water but both have run dry. I thought I might stay at the[…]

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Day 59: Part 2, The South Island

January 30th Ship cove (km1734)-Queen Charlotte Track (km1741) Mileage: 4.35mi/7km I was up by 6 am trying to get all packed and moving. I stuffed-up (kiwi slang for screwed-up) my food calculations while at the supermarket the night before, ending up with a bunch of extras. For some reason I got it in my head that I was buying for the 6 day stretch through the Richmond Ranges, as opposed to the 4 day stretch from St. Arnaud. I could either carry the extra food or mail it to Havelock. I had two boxes plus the bag of extra food, plus my full pack to carry about 1 km to the train station, ride to the CBD and then onto[…]

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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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