Twig Adventures

Day 20: Auckland is waiting

December 22nd Long Bay (km568)-Auckland CBD (km595) Mileage: 16.8mi/27km So a few nights back, I thought I heard kiwis (the bird) screaming in the night. They supposedly make a pretty horrid sound. You’re more likely to hear one than to see one, since they are nocturnal. But now I’m certain it was pukekos making the noise. They seem to be everywhere in NZ, but especially where there are fields. This area was chocked full of them. I noticed the night before that they had chicks nearby. Like many birds, the adults make a big racket when an intruder gets too near, trying to draw it off. These birds seem to operate in big family units, with many adults and teenagers[…]

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Day 21: A day for R&R

December 23rd This being my first day off, I didn’t do a whole lot. Denis texted me at 0730 am that he was bringing my stuff over to me. Wow, what a guy. I was so excited to see it. He brought all of it too, so I was able to better organize things. I replaced my broken stake and pulled all the things for my bounce box. Nina and James went to take some pictures on One Tree Hill with their new camera, while I had an important date with my nail clippers. After they returned, we all left to go to Christmas lunch at James’s parents. They live in North Auckland and it actually gave me anxiety traveling[…]

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Day 19: Riding the tides

December 21st Puhoi (km531)-Long Bay (km568) Mileage: 23mi/37km It was quite chilly this morning. I could even see my breath, so I was happy to be in the caravan. I slept really good until the rooster alarm at 04:30. Even then, I slept through that for another hour. But I wanted to get an early start before the road walk got to have too much traffic. I was walking by 7 am and past busy SH1 by 8. I skipped a kayak route once again. I’ve paddled a lot of similar rivers and it was logistically easier just to walk. I enjoyed some interpretive trails through Wenderholm Park. The old historic house there played host to Queen Elizabeth, back when[…]

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Day 18: Pushing to Puhoi

December 20th forest camp (km498)- Puhoi (km531) Mileage: 20.5mi/33km Today was kind of a tough day. It started out with morning rain, the kind that ensures that you have to pack a wet tent, even though it’s been dry the rest of the night. I could tell it was going to rain more. The wind had blown a lot of clouds up into the mountains, which were now getting trapped and letting loose their moisture. Looking out towards the coast, it almost looked clear. I was on the trail by 06:30 am and once again doing the roller-coaster. These forest tracks mostly follow the ridgelines, which rise and fall a lot, given their volcanic origins. And if you see a[…]

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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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