Puketi Forest to Kerikeri
It was easily my favourite day so far. It started with bacon and eggs for breakfast. Shanelle and Levi dropped me off where I finished the day before.
The first half of the day I was walking through private farmland which was so nice and soft on my feet! I talked to the cows and sheep as I walked through the herds. Most of the fences had stiles to climb or gates so it was easy. The farmer pulled up on his bike and we had a chat and he made sure I knew where to go. A few of the marker posts had been knocked over by the cows. I could see the Bay of Islands getting very close and by mid day I was in Waipapa.
The group caught up to me early in the day. I started later than usual. All except Xavier. We talked about the day before and I told them all about my roast dinner. They wanted all the details. I could not keep up with their pace along a stretch of metal road in between farms so they went ahead. I soon passed them again when they stopped for morning tea. I dont break much and like to keep moving forward. I also prefer to walk alone so I dont have to think about anyone else and just go at my own pace. It is one of the unwritten rules of ‘thru hiking’. There is no obligation to stick with a group and everyone is on their own journey and for their own reasons. Most days you will catch up at some point or at the end of the day. I have met a lot of people already and have enjoyed talking to all of them.
I had a break in Waipapa before joining the Raibow Falls track all the way to the Stone Store in Kerikeri. The track was very nice and the kms came easy under the cool bush canopy. I made good time today so I lay on the grass by the Stone Store and enjoyed a refreshing drink from the cafe next to the river. I was able to put some time into planning the next few days ahead.
I took up another offer for a place to stay with Peter and Lesley who are friends of my dads. They live right on the trail down Kerikeri Inlet Road. Lesley was out of town but I met her in the morning. Peter cooked a very nice Chilli Con Carne and gave me a very large serving. It was delicious! Followed by a cream bun that I did not need at all. Not that I am worried about putting on weight. Another beautiful hot shower and comfortable bed for the night.
Paihia is where I am heading tomorrow and Katie and the kids will be waiting for me there.