Sunday, 7 December 2014

Day 36. Te Kuiti to Mangaokewa Road.

Today 42 km.  Total 946 km (+8). 12 hours 15 minutes (0715-1930).

After a great sleep I packed and made my way to the Bakery for a Bacon and Egg Pie and a coffee.  I ate this at the Shearer Statue and at 0715 was on my way.

Nice place for breakfast

Not what I expected to see in Te Kuiti

Marae in Te Kuiti

Photo tribute to Fred and Stanley

A 1 km road walk led to the first river trail which was a fair trail between the industrial area of Te Kuiti and the river.  It was lovely but stange to have the birds and heavy machinery competing.

River walk

Interesting contrast

The trail crossed a vehicle Bridge and then the markers stopped and I was confronted with three tracks to choose from. The trail notes were not clear but did mention a climb after the quarry. Two tracks went up and the one to the right was flat so I took that one and after the quarry it started going up and there was a marker so I made the right decision.

Abandoned plant

Trail just past the quarry and above the river

The trail then turned sharply and headed downhill on a grassy track.  The grass was covered in dew and my shoes and socks were quickly soaked.  At the stile there were 3 fence battons that had been painted bright colours and had little poems on them. The rest of the marker posts along the trail were also decorated and it looked like a school project. This trail switched between grass and lovely bush along a river. While the grass was a little long with spring growth The bush trail was in great condition and lovely to move on.

Decorated fence battons

Cute waterfall

Probably a weed but pretty

Great track

After 10 minutes of this I saw a reserve over the other side of the riverand then came to a Swingbridge. The were no TA makers and I read my notes a couple of times before crossing over. The trail notes said not to cross the Swingbridge but they seemed to be written with section hiker in mind who start at the car park. There were several camper vans parked up but no one was up yet.  The was a great information board telling about the trees and birds on the Reserve and the history of the place. I really like this type of board.

Crossing to the Mangaokewa Reserve

Great information boards

At the end of the car park the trail started. This trail in the Mangaokewa Reserve is awarded my Favourite Trail Award.  It was great.  It was a nice condition track that was dry and that had a few grassy patches which let you see the bush from a different perspective.  There were heaps of birds,  more than most of the other places I have been. If you stood still and watched they were everywhere flitting around. The trail was largely flat until the end when it climbed up to the stile and I emerged onto the farmland.

Lovely track

Track runs beside the river

Guess what this is. (Answer at the end)

Different type of trees

Great views

The trail headed back down to the river and I saw a Swingbridge with a TA arrow on it.  I guess you don't need to cross the Swingbridge at the reserve then.  Here also was a sign saying TA Trail 15 km.

Now into the farmland, the trail follows the river

Back Country decorations

Yay only 15 km to the trail end

From here we followed the river through mixture of farmland and different types of bush.  The was a little climbing but not as much as usual for a river trail. The was also some sidling around the hill which is always good for an adrenalin hit when there is a little exposure below.  I really enjoyed the first 3 hours then it seemed to drag a bit and there was an increase in swampy areas to cross which meant mud in the shoes again. Also at the 3 hour mark my blister taping came lose so I took it off.

Fantastic scenery

The river I was following

I am being watched. Look closely in the cliff and on top

Come up with your own caption for this one

So hard to be forced to walk such beautiful tracks


It was not all flat

Random pipe in the paddock

Near the end the track joined onto an old forestry road and I wanted to clear the mud out of my shoes but the track was too high over the river.  Once I was back into the farmland I tried to access the river several times but the banks were too steep. After 4 hours 15 minutes I finished the trail and was on a gravel road. 10 minutes later I found a culvert that I could get down to the steam and I washed my shoes and socks.  While everything dried out a bit I had lunch.  Tortilla,  hummus,  cheese and Salami. I retaped my blister and was on my way.

After 3.5 km I turned left onto Mangaokewa Road.  The directions from here were easy,  follow this road for the next 22 km and so I did,  though I have camped short of this distance.

The road was uneventful. There was a long sustained climb then ups and down with mainly farmland to look at.

Long long climb

The moon over some cows

At 40 km for the day while on a long downhill my right calf decided it wasn't happy.  It became really tight and stretching it didn't help.  I slowed down my pace and on downhills tried not to use it. Funny after so long without a niggle I now get one randomly.

When I started to think about a campsite there were not many choices as it is all open farmland.  Luckily I came across a row of trees and was able to clear a space from the blackberry bushes (earning several scratches from my efforts) for my tent.  I am right beside the road but up a big bank and hidden behind a small wall of dirt. I almost feel like I am in a military defensive position.  It is cold again.

The foreground is what the whole place looked like and you can see the clearing I made in the background

Night 36. Great hideaway

Invisible from the road

Answer : Ponga seedling

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