Twig Adventures

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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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 avocados 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 sunrise 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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