Twig Adventures

Day 17: more beach and bush

December 19th Miller’s Ark Retreat (km472.5) – forest camp (km497.5) Mileage: 15.5mi/25km plus 2k extra walking the beach. Today was about slowing down and taking things in. I was in no hurry to leave the Miller’s, not after the nice dinner last night. We had arrived at their place close to 7pm, unannounced, but they set about right away in sharing their home. They even cooked us dinner. Their daughter makes gourmet meat pies for sale overseas, so they baked us one large, butter chicken, and one small one, rosemary and steak. Jo also made a salad. After dinner we had herbal tea and conversation into the night. It was of great international flavor, given the inputs from Denmark and[…]

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Day 16: Everyday’s a Feast for the Senses

December 18th Dragon’s Spell (km434) – Miller’s Ark Retreat (km472.5) Mileage: 24mi/38.5km As planned, I woke up early to enjoy the sunrise and my coffee on the viewing platform. I also finally finished the last 2 pieces of my pizza. I had a wonderful sense of peace that morning, of being in the perfect place at the perfect time, living my dream. Then I went back to lounge in the bed and work on my blog. It was hard to get moving but finally I got packed up by 8 am. I had to settle up with Johnny but didn’t want to wake him too early. When I finally knocked on the door, he looked worried when I flashed him[…]

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Day 15: one foot in front of the other

December 17th Green Bus camp (km394.5)-Dragon’s Spell (km434) Mileage: 24.5mi/39.5km Today we had to coordinate another boat ride across to Marsden Point, site of NZ’s only oil refinery and a large port that loads massive amounts of lumber onto ships for export. Just as we were leaving, Terry was coming down his driveway and offered us a ride 5km to the bay where we were meeting the boat. I needed to stick with the group and could tell they wanted to take the ride. Plus, Terry drives a truck just like mine, which here is called a Toyota Hilux. His is a lot newer but it looked pretty much the same on the inside, except that the wheel is on[…]

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Day 14: Stairmaster to Heaven

December 16th Taiharuru Estuary/Tidesong B&B (km371)-Green Bus camp (km394.5) Mileage: 14.6mi/23.5km As anticipated, breakfast with Ross and Hugh did not disappoint. We had to be scheduled at 7 am, since the other guests were due at 8, but I was ready even before that. There were fresh fruits from the garden, muesli, wheat bix, fresh-made yogurt, french-press coffee, bacon, sausage, poached egg on toast, and the most delicious scones I’d ever had. My hiker-hunger has come back so I ate it ALL. I almost never have a big breakfast but this hit the spot. I wasn’t hungry the rest of the day. As soon as we were done, Hugh took us across the river in his boat. He even provided[…]

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Day 13: From one haven to the next

December 15th Nikau Bay Camp(km342)-Taiharuru Estuary/Tidesong B&B (km371) Mileage: 18mi/29km Despite having great accommodations, I didn’t sleep very well all night. In settling into a real bed for the first time in weeks, I was thinking “ahh, this it it!” I was asleep almost immediately. But I woke again and couldn’t get back to sleep. Despite bug screens and a bed net, the mossies were getting in and buzzing me. There were so many, it remided me of a few nights spent in the everglades. By the morning, I was missing my tent. This is of course no knock on Nikau Camp, as James has done his best. He invited me into his place for coffee and toast in the[…]

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Day 12: walking bliss

December 14th Mountain top campsite on the Morepork track (km307)-Nikau Bay Camp(km342) Mileage: 21.8mi/35km I had a long day planned to get to the place I wanted to stay, plus needed to coordinate a boat ride across the estuary. And I was out of water. I paid for my dehydrated state with a headache. So I hit the trail at 6:20 am. Shorty I found a stream and was able to top up. Finishing the Morepork track required a lot of climbing and descending. Then it started to rain lightly, which was odd since the day seemed clear only an hour ago. In NZ, if you don’t like the weather you just have to wait a short while for it[…]

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Day 11: Lessons from the road and a raptor rescue

December 13th Shelter on the Papakauri Stream (km274)-to mountain top campsite on the Morepork track (km307) Mileage: 20.5mi/33km The day begin with a little bit of trail and then a 13 km road walk. Once on the road, I began marvelling at how pleasant it was. I was passing many quaint little farms and about every kind of livestock that you can imagine. There was even a herd of cattle crossing the road, which made for an interesting encounter. A few of the bulls were very curious! Many TA walkers hitch the road sections, but I want to walk (or use some other method of human-powered travel, as is fit) to get across most of the country. Plus, I feel[…]

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Day 10: A little bit of everything

December 12th Paihia (km248)-shelter on the Papakauri Stream (km274) Mileage: 13mi/21km Today had the widest assortment of walking yet. I slept in a bit, until 6 am!, but couldn’t help myself from packing my stuff, seeing blue skies. So much for a zero. I slept so well last night and felt rested and ready to hike. I did get roused briefly during the night by an unusual intruder…a local cat was trying to get into my tent, mewing and acting cute. No way was he going to mix with my down quilt and inflatable matt and pillow but I did get up to go to the bathroom and then had a brief kitty-cuddle on the porch chair. The hostel had[…]

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Day 9: more luxury from a tent.

December 11th Kerikeri (km222)-Paihia (km248 Mileage: 16.2mi/26km Today was mostly a journey from one town to the next, with nice coastal views at the end. I packed up early and left the holiday park in search of the free wifi spot downtown. There I sat for several hours reading emails and then trying to figure out why my blog post app wasn’t working. Nothing would go through. Frustrated, I finally decided it was time to go back to doing what I do best: walking. The start of this section led past the stone store, a historic site and still functioning store. NZ has a relatively recent beginning, much like the US, so there aren’t a whole lot of historical highlights.[…]

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Day 8: It’s time for town

December 10th Puketi rec area (km199)-Kerikeri (km222) Mileage: 14.3mi/23km plus too much walking around town. Today was a short-ish walk into the first large town, Kerikeri. I woke to the sound of rain on my tent as well as the rooster crowing. The rain was light and let up shortly after. With no rain for the first whole week, I’d say I have been petty lucky. I followed Mike on the route through paddock fields most of the morning. A paddock is simply a parceled piece of rangeland. New Zealand practices rotational grazing, in which stock is periodically moved from one small paddock to another to more effectively allviate over-grazing. It’s more work for the farmer but seems to be[…]

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