Pureora to Piropiro (The Timber Trail)
I was up at 5.30am so I could get an early start on it. My goal was to reach the Timber Trail Lodge. It is 20kms further than the Bog Inn hut where I had initially planned to stay, but to stop there would be a very short day so id rather keep going. The lodge is very nice too so I am spoiling myself a bit. It is positioned at the half way point. The timber trail is a 84.5km cycleway between Pureora and Ongarue and is a good track all the way. The first section gradually climbs to 990m as you sidle around Mt Pureora. I did not take the 1.5 hour side track up to the summit because I had too many kms to cover already. I will come back and do it one day though (probably on a bike). From the summit you look over lake Taupo and the mountains. The first 14kms were beautiful native forest with rimu, totara, miro, matai and kahikatea. It is the only surviving section of forest after extensive logging in the area throughout the 1900’s. I crossed the first three spectacular suspension bridges of the trail. At the end of the first bridge I had lunch with three older gentlemen who were there to build a seat. We talked about where it should be positioned.
I was passed by several cyclists from about 10am onwards. I caught up to Shaman later in the day and when I arrived at the lodge there was Xavier sitting on the deck drinking beer with two other hikers Tessa and Caroline from Holland. All meals are included at the lodge and they put a pizza in the oven for me when I arrived as a starter before dinner at 7.30pm. I sat and had a few beers with my fellow hikers and shared my pizza. I didn’t need it. We talked about our experiences to date. We have crossed paths with many of the same hikers at different stages so it was fun to piece together where everyone else is positioned. Xavier and Caroline were going to camp just down the trail but were making the most of the bar and nice place to chill overlooking the forest. I had a shower and connected to the wifi. The password to connect is ‘besocial’ and it wasn’t working! I thought maybe it was just a joke but they were actually having trouble with their connection. There were 9 of us staying here (mostly cyclists) and a large table was set for us to eat together. We had roasted chicken thighs with salads and potato bake. Then home made pavlova for dessert. It was all amazing. Help ourselves to biscuits and coffee/teas/juices. First breakfast of cereal etc was at 7am and then second breakfast of bacon and eggs was served at 7.30am. Packed lunch to go as well. I am chilling here making most of the coffee before I head off to my camp site. Its 10.30am now so I should probably leave soon before they kick me out.