Grant drove us 35 minutes or so from Feilding to the place on Turitea Rd where we had stopped two days ago and we got underway walking about 0815. We had to cover around 56-57km in two days to get this section finished (to the Poads/Gladstone Rd intersection behind Levin). Our intention was to try and get over half of this done today. We ended up covering around 30km in 9.5hr (including breaks). The GPS track for the day is here. (Note that I am at home at the moment on a computer so I can provide a clickable link instead of having to put in the URL on the mobile app!!!).
The weather was better than yesterday but still overcast and blowing a strong westerly wind (seemed to vary between SW and NW) - a good 50km/hr I would guess. We started off on gravel roads which wasn't too hard, but the wind certainly made it a bit of a battle at times! It wasn't long before we could see that Franziska was suffering from significant pain in her foot with 17kg or so of backpack on her back. After about 1hr15, on Greens Rd, we had a chat and collectively decided that she should/could not continue - the decision had to be made now as we were fast running out of places where we could easily get a car to pick her up. Luckily we had some patchy reception and I managed to get hold of my brother Grant, who had stayed in PN for an appointment and arranged for him to come out to the Kahuterawa / Greens Rd intersection and pick Franziska up - having done about 6.7km. It took us about another half hour to get there and Grant turned up about 10 minutes later - great timing. So we packed Franziska into the car and Grant took her back into PN to catch a 1:00 p.m. bus down to Paraparaumu - Belinda had arranged for her sister Julia to pick Franziska up and host her for the night while we carried on walking. A big thanks again to our family members for providing such great support for us when we needed it!!
So, after a 20 minute stop, Belinda and I set off again on our own - it felt funny walking without Franziska who had been with us for almost 3 weeks!! It was about another 6km up to the end of Kahuterawa Rd where we reached the recreation area carpark and the Black Bridge. The Back Track was next, which is an old road - pretty much a quad/4wd type track - metal surface and reasonably OK to walk on - that goes through mainly regenerating native bush. Following this was another stretch of metal road before entering Gordon Kear Forest which had us following more gravel forestry tracks. This was all fairly undulating country with no steep ascents or descents.
At about the 22km mark for the day, we reached the start of Burttons Track. This was the start of the more serious business for the day!! This was a tramping track standard and, as we had a reasonable amount of rain recently, it was a bit wet, muddy and, consequently, slippery! Much of this is through regenerating bush that was once farmed (Burttons Track is named after Jim Burtton who first carved a track into this area around 100 years ago!) and provides for interesting scenery to walk through. After about 4km or so we hit the Tokomaru River and started to follow this (more or less), including some crossings back and forth! We passed the site of the original Burttons Whare (cottage) and somehow completely missed the information sign that was supposed to be there!!
Despite how easy it sounded in the trail notes, we had some trouble finding the river crossing point just here, but finally nutted it out and crossed over again. Around here the original part of Jim Burttons track started. We followed this for another 1.5km (about 35 minutes) through a mixture of bush and small areas of grass that had not yet covered in with bush. It was nearing 1800 by this stage and we were a bit weary (I think the wind played a big part in that, although we were lucky to get no rain today!!) so found a nice grassy spot to pitch our tent, after cutting out a few thistles! We were in the tent as soon as possible after dinner and by 2000 Belinda was already ready to sleep!
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"!!