Day 12 Surreal and Ethereal
Monday 21 October 2019
Today’s distance 25km
Stair flights 160
Weather: Sunny, cloudy, and rain
Today I loved. After a little forestry track walking to begin with, the trail came to Mangapukahukahu Stream with the stream being the track for about 4km. Mostly just ankle deep, although in one spot it got to my mid thigh. Yes I know – that would be only below the knee for people with legs.
A key lesson learnt today - even when the forecast is for nothing but sun, do not pack the raincoat at the bottom. As the heavy raindrops were drenching me I was pulling almost everything out of the pack to find the damn raincoat. As is always the case, as soon as I had the raincoat on, the rain stopped. The stream walk was beautiful and the bush full of Nikau and punga trees.
The next section was sidling just above the river. A little muddy and narrow, but nothing too challenging, particularly as I now have Raetea as a reference point. Out of nowhere a lovely board walk appeared which made for very easy walking. When the second boardwalk appeared I worked out they are there to protect the Kauri rather than make my life easier. The third boardwalk and stairs (of which there were hundreds!), was through the most incredible Kauri forest. I have never wanted to be a tree hugger as much as I did walking through this section. It was ethereal. There were hundreds of Kauri of all sizes - seedlings to giants. I was overcome with a surreal realisation that I was actually on this amazing journey and it was these moments I am doing it for. Wow - just wow.
Seriously sore feet as I exited the forest and along the forestry road to the Puketi DOC campground. The last couple of kms were done on barley sugars and chocolate.
A lovely evening was had around a picnic bench with the other TAers, and once again an early night.
Left to right: Seb and Steph, Leon, campsite night 12