Saturday, 8 November 2014

Day 8. Mangamuka-Pukete Forest HQ

Today 43 km. Total 197 km. 12 1/2 hours (0720-1950).

Once again I was woken by the dawn chorus.  I was marginally quicker with my morning routine and on the road by 0720. It was a short walk to SH1 and on the way I passed a man walking his two goats.  He knew about the track I had been on and how muddy it is.

From there it was an easy walk down the highway.  All the cars and trucks were great giving me heaps of room and I got one offer of a ride.

Even the road walks are pretty

At Mangamuka I stopped at the dairy and had a pie and chocolate milk which went down very quickly. The lady obviously saw many TA walkers as she recognised what I was immediately and mentioned seeing a group of four recently.

From there was the turnoff to a gravel Road.  This was the decision point to continue on the trail which had river walking, or to take the detour.  The notes said if it is raining to take the detour. Just as I was checking on the map at that point it started raining.  I assessed that it was just a shower and continued on the main route.

I just put my umbrella up but then it started raining harder so I put on my jacket and 5 minutes later the rain stopped - typical. It was 5 km up this gravel Road before turning onto Kauri Pa Road which I followed for 8 km constant uphill.

Start of Kauri Sanctuary Road

The Road - easy walking

As I was having a break it started raining really hard.  I put my jacket on but stayed under the tree and it eased off to just a drizzle which I headed into. 5 minutes later it stopped again.  I reached a sign leading to the giant stump and as it was only 70 meters off the path I had a look.  It was huge.

The Grand Kauri Stump.  Note walking poles for scale

5 minutes later I reached the Kauri Sanctuary but as there was no distance shown I did not go.  I was surprised how quickly the last road had seemed to pass. It was only 12 o'clock and I had already done 20 km.

I continued up the road for another km before turning into a nice road with the tyre tracks gravel and the middle grass.
While this was only 2 km on the map it seemed to take ages.

Another great track to walk on

I then turn turned off into a 4wd track that lead down to Mangapukahukahu Stream. For the next 2.5 km there was no track. Instead I had to walk in the stream and on the rocks which was fun.

The track now

This was one of the deeper bits

I was interested that the rocks had some unusual colours including purple
It was not easy travel but the stream was low.  The highest it got was knee height.

Lovely coloured stones

Rocky patches to walk on

But the rocks were not always there

The stream then joined a bigger river.  I was not comfortable with the depth of this so I took the alternate track.  It started nicely though I was surprised to see horse hoof prints.

 Hoof prints? 

  The track then deteriorated to plain scary in bits.  It was basically just single foot wide with dropoffs in some places. It is supposed to be the wet weather alternative but there is way I would be comfortable doing it in the wet.

The track started okay. What looks like a white letterbox is actually a Possum trap. They were the whole way along the track

I was crapping myself on this bit though it doesn't look like much in the photo. It was half boot width wide above 2 metre drop

The photo doesn't do justice to just how narrow the trail was

The track then left the river and headed up steeply. The first km was a lovely track which then went back to an average track though thankfully it was not boggy.

The prefect track which lasted a few hundred meters

 On the way up there were several stands of Kauri.   At the top was a fantastic Kauri Grove.

Anybody home? 

The bright colours stand out in the bush

Great to see so many Kauri though these are still babies

Climbing Patea Ridge

There was the perfect campsite under one Kauri I was out of water so I had to push on to the bottom to the and DOC camp.

Later finish than normal

At the camp I met 4 other TA walkers. They were from Belgium, Norway, USA and Canada. We had dinner together telling stories of the trail. Funny thing is we did not exchange names so I can't say who they were. 3 of them started the trail on Saturday and one on Sunday. That night it was very cold again.

No camp site photo today as forgot in the excitement of having people to talk with.

Hints of the day.
1.  Definitely visit the great stump as it is very impressive.
2. The Kauri Sanctuary is 1 km down the road and according to the others well worth the visit.
3. When travelling in the river momentum will keep you stable. Poles are a huge advantage in keeping balance. Look forward not at your feet.
3. There is a great campsite on Patea Ridge just before first Track junction on the top.  Just make sure you refill in the river before heading up.

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