Apple Dam to Puketi Forest Park
I was packed and walking out of camp by 7am. No one else was up yet. I wanted to start early because I knew I had a long day of road walking ahead of me and I wanted to get as much done as possible before the sun was on top of me.
This section is a diversion around Omahuta and Puketi Forest. The trail ran through the forests until this year when parts were closed due to kauri dieback disease. So unfortunately, I had to walk 30kms of old forestry road to get around it. I did not see one car the whole 8 hours until I came out on to Waiare Road. There were no flat parts either. Just rolling hills. I had a great view of the Whangaroa Harbour at the top. There were about 20 beehives set up along the way which I had to button up for and take a wide berth. There were lots of shotgun shells and road signs with bullet holes. I found another kauri snail in the middle of the road too.
My feet and ankles were dying on the rugged metal road and I was struggling with the heat from mid day onwards. I would have a drink of my green water, sweat it all out in about 5 minutes and feel my body dehydrate again. I got out on to Waiare Road at about 2pm with 3kms to go. It was all up hill and took me another two hours. I reached the Puketi Forest recreation area where I would have camped but I had taken up an offer of a bed for the night. My work friend Sally had told me to contact her daughter who lives just down the road from where I finished. I am so glad I took up the offer! Shanelle and Levi were amazing hosts and looked after me so well. Sally came up for a visit too and they gave me a bag full of chocolates, energy bars, lollies and heaps more. I couldn’t carry all of it! Shanelle cooked a roast (pork, chicken, lamb flap and all the sides) for dinner then insisted on making me bacon and eggs for breakfast, and filled rolls for lunch. It was nice staying with them and such a nice family with three friendly kids.
Sally brought messages of support from my work colleagues who are eagerly following my progress. A good piece of advice from Jim which I have attached below. And thank you Neil for pointing out ‘Saddle’ is spelt with two d’s. I blame the predictive text on my phone.
My family is coming to visit me on Wednesday in Paihia! We will have a swim at the beach and go out for dinner. I can’t wait!