Today 30 km. Total 494.5 km. 11 hours (0830-1930).
It rained all night and finally stopped around 0500. My tent held up really well with no leaks anywhere. There was a little condensation but that is because I had no breeze at all given where I tucked the tent. I had a slow morning routine knowing low tide was 0830. I left at 0830 exactly and went down a forest road for a few hundred meters then down onto the beach. It was lovely walking on the beach for the most part but this beach had an unusual feature of water appearing from nowhere and forming little streams, many of which I could not jump across so I had to walk back and go up the shore a little to get around.
I got to Poutawa Stream and took my shoes off for the short crossing. The water was only mid shin high but flowing very fast. I saw what i think was an Albatross. It was really big and flying above the waves. Fantastic.
There were heaps of Dotterel birds which are endangered in NZ. They are nesting and it is entertaining watching the different tactics to lure me away from their nests, even though i was making no move towards the dunes. The tactics were; look at me I am eating and haven't seen you so I am easy prey, look at me with only one leg, look at me ruining in this direction for you to chase me. Entertaining as far as the beach went.
There was a final river crossing and then I was at the Pakiri Holiday Park where I grabbed some snacks and had lunch. I then did the next 3 km gravel road walk at an easy pace. The track then went onto farmland and went up very steeply. The climb was hard work but the views looking back were spectacular.
Once into the bush the trail was lovely. I got a little worried as the DOC time was less than 2 km/h which usually indicates a difficult track.
The trail soon split and TA took what looks like a relatively new trail. It lead to a huge weather radar which was making some stange noises.
I was having a little fantasy sparked by the boot prints that were quite fresh. I was thinking it would be nice to catch up to these people just before the car park where they would have a picnic and invite me. There would be a green salad with avocado and vinaigrette followed by fruit salad and cold flavoured drinks. This may have been the reason I was going so fast. For the last 15 minutes of the trail it deteriorates to narrow and slippery with limited foot holds. This must still be in development. I came out at the road much earlier than I expected.
It was now a 3 km road walk to the next track.
The track started as gravel then turned into clay before becoming single track through Totora Forest.
Tomorrow there is a restriction on part of the trail having to be done between 1600-0700 when the loggers were not working. This meant I either had a really long day today or a short day tomorrow. After a long day yesterday I didn't want another so soon so I decided to stop early and I would also get a sleep in to make sure I didn't get to the trail before it was open. My plan was to walk through the next bit which was open daylight hours only and then find a camp spot. Unfortunately once back on DOC land it was dominated by Totora Trees which do not make for good camp spots as the have many of their roots above ground. I stayed looking for a campspot at 1730 but could not find one as they were too steep, too wet or too many roots. I was frequently diving off the trail looking at likely spots but no luck. Eventually I decided to head to the bottom of the trail on the hope of a better spot. It was a steep and very slippery descent. At the bottom things only got worse as it was even more boggy and the vegetation had not changed. Grrr
Next decision was to continue on to the road 1.3 km away as there was forest there which makes for good camping. That 1.3 km felt more like 5 km. The track was rooty, boggy and constant up and down and felt like it would never end. I was starting to get a little tired now. The trail crossed the river where I purified some water and then finally there was the road. I walked a hundred meters then ducked into the pines and found a great spot to set up camp. I hope to hear a Kiwi tonight as I saw a beak hole near to where I set up my tent.