This was Friday 6th and we decided to further test the knee by doing around 21km of the TA - relatively gentle walking mostly on roads and through Waitangi forest.
GPS track here. I again made a mistake by stopping and not restarting the watch for about 1.5km of track from bottom of Pa Rd until partway along Inlet Rd. Old age memory problems I think! So the track shows a straight line between those 2 points and duration is short by about 15 mins or so!
Maria dropped us off in Kerikeri as we needed a chemist, so we then walked maybe 2km down to the historic Stone Store to start the actual TA part of the walk. I almost immediately led us astray on a grassy hill by following the most well worn track - wrong!! Only did a few hundred metres before a quick check of the GPS or us right! Dodgy start.
A few kms of mainly road saw us at the start of there Waitangi forest track. Here we also caught up with Lucas (Czech) and Annette (German) - fellow TA walkers - for a quick chat. The walk here was totally on forestry roads, so relatively gentle inclines and well formed. Even though we didn't get much over 100m ASL we still managed views over the beautiful Bay of Islands.
We stopped and had lunch at the cairn and sculpture that marked the official opening of the first section of the TA way back in 1995.
More walking through forestry roads ensued, before we emerged onto Haruru Falls Rd and shortly thereafter walking through the picturesque Waitangi Golf Course (on a road, not down the fairways I hasten to add!).
Then it was down the hill to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where we stopped for refreshments (including hot chips - staple walking food!) for an hour or so. That rejuvenated us for the remaining few kms across the Waitangi bridge and along the foreshore to the info centre at Paihia - from where we started our recent Paihia to Opua walk.
Our lovely niece Phoenix very kindly drove down to pick us up and take us back to our temporary "home".
Unfortunately, despite managing the walk, my knee is still sore on the uphill bits and is not ready for real tramping yet. Combined with a couple of family events at home in two weeks' time we decided we would head home for a (hopefully) short while for some more work on my knee before heading back up here for a restart. That'll give Maria, Andrew and Phoenix a bit of peace and quiet!! A bit disappointing but the best decision we think. So we are hopping on a tin budgie in Whangarei this p.m. (Monday) and will be home this evening.
Day 17. Paihia to Opua
The knee is still being a bit of a pain but we decided it might be time to test it and the new knee brace with a little walk that wasn't too challenging in terms of ups and downs. This is an official part of the TA, so we could tick a little more off! Ended up doing 9km - 7km of TA plus another 2km up the hill to "home".
Link to TA part of walk
We have done this walk before so no surprises - a very pleasant stroll rounds the coastline. A mix of rocks, beach and tracks in the hills above the water.
Apologies for including a selfie - luckily my arm is almost as long as some of those selfie sticks!
The knee is not too bad the day after the walk so hopefully that's a good sign. Having another rest day today and plan to strap on the knee brace and try and walk the 20km or so from Kerikeri, through Waitangi forest, to Paihia tomorrow. That doesn't look too rough so will hopefully provide another useful indicator of progress with the knee.
I'd like a reasonable level of confidence in the knee before heading back to complete the bit from the end of Herekino track through to Kerikeri. That section will be maybe 4 days of stuff similar to Herekino, but even higher, so will be a stern test for the knee.
Will keep you posted. In the meantime we're continuing to enjoy the Opua hospitality!
Opua ("day 16")
As you can see we are still enjoying Opua and the hospitality of Maria, Andrew and Phoenix. Anthony's knee is coming on so we are hopeful to do some more walking soon. I have been out and about, sometimes with Maria and sometimes on my own, exploring some of the many beautiful bush and beach walks; we truly couldn't have picked a more lovely place for recovery and rest. Considering our incredibly busy few months before heading off on the walk, this down time is not such a bad thing and we are very much enjoying that aspect of it.
For the Herekino Forest section of our walk I think my MIT (most important thing) was the bright orange triangles that are attached, generally to trees, to let us know we are still on the correct route. When the bush is dense or you are suddenly zig zagging and things are not too obvious, spotting a marker was usually followed with the reassuring call "I see orange!" Thank you so much to all who diligently place these markers.
That's it from me.
Opua ("day 9"). Enforced break
As discussed, we decided we needed to get my knee checked out as I was effectively unable to go uphill or downhill without pain - flat is more or less OK!! Had a very pleasant doctor at the Kerikeri Medical Centre check it out. The first thing he said was that I had a very loose medial ligament on my right knee ("marked medial laxity" on the medical notes!!). I think this was probably from significant knee damage 20+ years ago.
Net result was that the lower rightleg can bend outwards when it should stay straight - this led to pinching of the synovial membrane in the outer knee joint --> sharp pain! So, nothing serious, but I need to get the swelling down, work on exercises to bulk up my right quad to help with stability, and get a brace for now to help maintain stability. Not sure how long that will take but I'm hopeful it will be ready to go in the near future. In the meantime we plan a few shorter, flatter section of the TA around here (Waitangi through to Opua) while in recovery mode. Already did a 3km walk this morning on part of the rail trail from Opua.
So - R&R for now - am hoping to be back on deck with some more stories in the near future. Thanks for all the supportive comments - its only a minor hiccup as far as we are concerned and our journey will continue!!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!