Twig Adventures

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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Day 38: Taumarunui zero

January 9th Taumarunui (km1075) Mileage: just walking the town I was up very early to take a stab at my long list of chores. First was some blog posts, laundry, locating and patching the hole on my pillow, and general gear clean-up. I was also trying to figure out my time-line in order to book the kayak. There are so many details and different permutations. I read a lot of blogs and came up with a schedule. Two days to get to the start of the Tongariro crossing, 1 day for that, then another 2 to get to the starting point for the river section, paddling by Monday. Whew. I called a couple operators and the first I talked to[…]

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Day 37: Cheers for the TT

January 8th #10 campsite (km1032)- near Taumarunui (km1069) Mileage: 23mi/37km After the long day yesterday, I got a slower-than-usual start at 8:30 am. The day was brilliant and I was in a fantastic mood. I quickly came to yet another awe-inspiring swingbridge. Then there was the Ongarue spiral. It sounds complicated but the signage explained it well. It’s just a big loop built to ease the gradient of the train track where there was a cliff. The tunnel and bridge were restored so that pedestrians can now enjoy passing through. It’s a pretry neat historical relic, made even better by the informational displays In the tunnel, I met the first person of the day, a guy doing the Cape to[…]

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Day 36: On Easy Street to 1000 kms

January 7th Bogg Inn hut (km988)- #10 campsite (km1032) Mileage: 27.3mi/44km My biggest day yet! I was shooting for this, knowing that the trail would be easy and packing made all the faster by staying in the hut last night. It was raining again in the morning but I felt fairly confident it would burn off by mid-day. And it did. Still, it’s never easy to leave the protection of a roof over your head and go out into the wet. This rainy weather is much more like the NZ I expected. The first month made me spoiled, though. It was a short hike from the hut back to the main route. Then I came to the first of several[…]

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Day 35: Back on track

January 6th Mangaokewa rd/SH 30 junction (km958)-Bogg Inn hut (km988) Mileage: 18.6mi/30km I was so ready to get back to walking this morning! But first I had to get back to where I had left off. It wasn’t really feasible to find a ride to the remote road where I finished the river track 2 days ago, so I was just shooting for the start of the Timber Trial off SH 30. Don gave Steffen and me a ride to the end of town. Just as soon as we got there, it started raining again. What luck. It’s really hard getting a ride when it’s raining. There were also almost no cars on the road on an early Saturday morning.[…]

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Day 34: batten down the hatches

January 5th Te Kuiti (km913) Mileage: none They weren’t kidding about the winds.  They definitely felt like tropical storm force winds. Not good when you’re trying to sleep in a tent. I had a rough night. At first it was just rain and normal wind. I stayed nice and dry but had anxiety over what might happen if the winds picked up. I drifted in and out of sleep, waking to my tent shaking in the stronger and stronger gusts. There were no trees directly above me…but neither were there any above Mike the night he got clobbered. Around 4:30 am, I heard something near Don’s house go flying. It was probably the moment that his chicken coop got blown[…]

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Day 33: A zero for weather

January 4th Te Kuiti (km913) Mileage: none So basically a tropical storm is forecasted to hit the north island today and tomorrow. Rain is one thing but forecasted 100 kmh winds are a showstopper. I knew there would be a price to pay for a month of good weather. The timing could be much worse, since I’ve got a good place to stay holed up and no major time commitments. The morning started out quite fair, making me antsy about not hiking. But it started raining by noon. Don (Dad) took us TA kids grocery shopping in town. He joked that we weren’t allowed to get any treats. Fat chance, I bought a ton of chocolate and candy. In case[…]

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