Day 21 – Pakiri to Dome Valley

Pakiri to Dome Valley

29kms

Total 495kms.

Today was a hard day. It started with a steep climb up into Omaha forest with a 445m summit. I set off at 7am. The tracks were narrow and muddy. Not as bad as Raetea, but pretty bad. It really slows you down and makes the descent’s tricky and dangerous. One of the summits had a weather station which was interesting to look at. Not many good view points as the trees were in the way.

I came out at the top of Matakana Valley Road at around 11am and walked a few kms before heading back into the bush. Dome forest. I stopped for lunch first to refuel and air out my wet feet. I knew this next section was going to be longer and harder. It was a real mental battle today. I know I have the stamina and had to keep reminding myself I will get there. Dome cafe was my motivation which closes at 5pm. I pushed on and kept up a good pace. There were so many steep ascents and decents but the mud was not as bad. I stopped at a stream crossing and decided to change my socks, soak my feet and do a bit of foot maintenance. They had been wet for too long and thought I might be causing damage which creates issues later. My feet have been peeling badly so being wet for too long is not good. I’m glad I did stop. I felt much better with dry feet.

The final 5kms were a real struggle. I was starting to feel exhausted just when I was faced with three more steep climbs. Each one I thought was the last. I could hear the traffic on SH1. I only looked at my topo map a few times earlier on and must have overlooked them so wasn’t expecting three. I was starting to get really thirsty too after finishing my water an hour before. I finally came down into the cafe carpark before they closed. Took off my muddy boots and had a bottle of Pepsi and a quiche which came with a salad. The salad was the best part. I don’t usually drink coke but I have been craving it when I’m really tired and thirsty.

I had caught up with another TA walker in the bush. His name is Chris. We talked briefly and I continued past him. We had a proper chat at the Cafe later as he finished not long after me. He said he slept in the Omaha forest last night and started at Cape Reinga five days after me! He told me about an ultralight hiker he met that only has the clothes he is wearing and his tent is super light.

I have been watching the rain maps on metservice so decided I would splash out again on another cabin. I dont mind walking in the rain but setting up a tent and packing it up in the rain sucks. Tonight I am staying at Sheepworld. It is cosy. I got chatting to a guy called Brendan who is a permanent resident. Nice guy. Loves his cricket and coaches school teams all around the kaipara district. He was impressed with what I’m doing. He told me about an old guy living here also who is losing his marbles. He helps him out and settles him down when he gets frustrated. Ian runs the place and offered me plums, chocolate and silver beat.

Puhoi tomorrow and then meeting the family in Auckland the next day! I will rest on Christmas day with them.

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