So did this little guy, a weta who dropped by to say hello...
I finally broke camp at 0845 and took a pic by the Omahuta Forest sign. My trousers have a mind of their own by now and want to be an extra in the next Tintin movie.
I then start the walk up the road, stopping regularly to doctor my feet, which has become a habit born of necessity!
And then I start catching glimpses of giants in the mist all around me!
None of my photos do these Kauri justice- such an immense tree, they radiate energy and their sheer massiveness is humbling. I quietly limp by, hoping irrationally not to attract their attention. Te Araroa follows a 4wd track for a while before the track is a stream, to be followed downstream for some kilometers. Now, given the rain (even though light) this makes me a little nervous so I overplan the river section. I shift gear around so my emergency kit is in a dry bag in my zip pocket, map and compss around my neck, trousers unbloused etc in case the waters rise quickly as I am stuck In a bit of a canyon with few escape routes. If I need to, I'll pack float, worst case ditch the pack.
And so I begin...
And the views were amazing!
It seemed to take an age as I followed the twists and turns of the canyon, water up to waist deep at times. I finally arrived at the junction with the main river, and I waded across to the far shore with relief!
Back on dry land- muddy it was, but the 'New Zealand death' hadn't claimed another victim! I was so eager to stay out of the river that I opted to follow the river upstream on the wet weather track rather than the recommended river walk. Sounds great, but that meant kilometers of 'edging', climbing and scrambling along a wet, muddy and steep riverbank for the most part. I was reduced to one kilometer an hour, working hard to stay upright on my feet, often unsuccessfully! It became a slippery slide at times, with the worry of a drop into the river below. I was not exactly in my happy place!
Eventually the track left the river and followed a ridge line skyward, and I was back in my happy place, especially coming across a small forest of 'young' Kauri. It felt like I was on the Moon of Endor and any moment ewoks would pop out of hiding.
I found a place to hang my hammock and to get warm and dry. I'm lying in my hammock now typing this on my IPhone, which has become part of the nightly ritual. The rain is coming down steadily, and sounds overly loud on my cuben fibre tarp, almost like a tin roof hut. Tomorrow I will probably reach my night bivvy early, but with insufficient time to press on to Kerikeri in one day (we'll see). That means another cooked breakfast and coffee tomorrow! Whoo, doggy!