Today we managed around 21km in just over 9 hours.
First road walk section to Herekino Saddle.
Start of Herekino Forest Track to Taumatamahoe trig.
We set off from the campsite around 0700 after watching the last 5mins of the NZ vs SA match - so at least it was a positive start to the day! First 8km was asphalt road hike to Herekino Saddle. First thing of interest was coming across the National Weavers hui at Roma Marae!
Had a chat for a few minutes with the lovely ladies there, with some mutual photos - I think they thought we might be a bit mad when we mentioned Bluff!! Then it was back on the road up to the Herekino Saddle and the start of the Herekino Forest Tracks. We had started off the day again in Bob's company and caught up with him for a rest at the saddle - as we had been going 2hr by then. I had noticed a niggle in my right knee on the road section but figured it could be walked through - as with other niggles we had had on previous days. Anyway, after a break, it was into the forest.
We settled into a fairly steep climb initially and were soon into some nice NZ bush - with lots of rimu, totara, kauri and many other species in all shapes and sizes. Included in this was a couple of nice stands of fairly sizeable kauri.
There was a fair bit of up and down today, as well as some flatter sections along ridge tops. It was, as expected after yesterdays downpour, pretty muddy - but you just accept that you are going to get wet, dirty feet and get on with it :-) The tracks were, of course, variable. Its nice walking on kauri leaves I discovered - but a fair amount of the bush section was normal root-infested NZ bush track! We did have a stretch of old narrow 4wd forestry road in between the two sections of bush track, which was a bit of a relief for my knee.
Anyway - after about 12.5km of forest we reached Tamatamahoe trig. My painful knee had definitely slowed us down, as we were behind the DoC estimates of time. For a number of reasons, we decided to camp in a small spot at the trig. My knee was not great, we had been going over 9 hours and, importantly, this was the only spot within cooey that had cellphone reception if we needed to call for a ride out. We thought we could see how my knee was overnight before making decisions - so set up camp.
A couple of young guys - Sean from Canada and Arno from Germany, who had also been at the Ahipara campsite - stopped for a quick chat before heading off on the 3km downhill to Veza Rd to camp for the night. It was a fairly breezy southerly and a little chilly overnight - what you get for being on a high spot (~560m) but we were very comfortable with our gear to keep us warm and toasty.
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"!!