It was cold again last night and I had a really restless sleep. I decided get up a little earlier as I was already awake so I was on the road at 0715.
I continued on the same road for another 4 km and it was chilly. The scenery was much the same with cattle and sheep farms.
I find myself saying hello to all the animals but have not started having conversations with them yet so I am not worried about my mental state. I think I am just being polite.
Finally after 22 km I was off this road and onto SH 30 for the next 8 km. This was a sealed road but thankfully not very busy as there was no verge to walk on. This section seemed to go quickly so I must have been having some good daydreams to zone out.
At the turnoff the were very clear signs for the Timber Trail and a Pa (Traditional Maori village) touristy attraction. I was hoping they might have coffee or food but no luck. The Pa did look interesting s you could see it at a distance from the road. Just after this I was entertained watching the contractors working on Silage (a special grass feed). There was the machine that picks up the mown grass, slices it up and pours it into a truck. Watching this machine and the receiving truck was impressive. The truck had to stay beside the machine so the feed shute stayed aimed at the truck cargo area. This was relatively easy on the straights but required some skilled driving around bends and corners.
1 km later I watched a logging machine tearing up whole Eucalyptus Trees. The driver would push the tree over slightly then try get his clamp to swing around the truck and close it at just the right moment.
At the Pureroa Park Headquarters I filled up my water and made use of a lovely toilet complete with paper towels to dry hands - very flash for DOC.
Then I was on the Timber Trail. I didn't even know this existed before starting research on TA. This is a 84 km mountain bike trail that goes through bush and forest. It is well maintained gravel and dirt track that is quad bike width. It was fast walking and as the trail was so good I could look around heaps. There were lots of information panels about the trees, birds and history of the area which I enjoyed reading. The trail went through bush, harvested pine plantation and an area where they were logging. As I approached I thought of Christmas because I could smell the pine which is the same type of pine (pinus radiata) that we use for Christmas trees in NZ.
There were markers every km (for the whole 84 km I assume) so I could easily keep track of my progress. This also created a new game called guess the time for the next km marker. This was challenging as I had to take into account stops to read the information panels, take photos, look at something interesting, breaks etc. There were 12 opportunities for this before leaving the Timber Trail to climb Mt Pureroa.
The climb up Mt Pureroa was a quick 30 minutes up and 30 minutes down the other side. Luckily the clouds had cleared and I had good views I where I had come from and I could also see Lake Taupo though Mt Ruapehu was under cloud unfortunately.
Once back on the Timber Trail I was happy to see the sign said 1 hour 30 minutes to Bog Inn Hut not the 3 hours 30 minutes in the trail notes. I stayed on the timber trail until 1.6 km from the Hut when I left and went into a tramping track. 30 minutes later I arrived at the hut. I was surprised to still be dry firstly because it looked like it was going to rain much of the day and secondly I expected the track to the Hut to be boggy , especially given the Hut is called Bog Inn Hut.
I arrived at 1615 which is a very early finish for me and I didn't know what to do with so much time. The hut was nice and tidy so I didn't need to clean up but there was no wood for the fire so I collected some. Unfortunately most of the wood I could find is wet and due to not finding the axe I was limited to small branches. I started a fire for the luxury of it, and it was cold, and to try to dry out some wood for the next people if they arrive in the rain. There is nothing better than arriving wet and cold and having the makings of a fire ready.
I had a coffee then cooked my dinner; Laksa Soup, Couscous with Sundried Tomatoes and surprise peas with chocolate fudge instant pudding for desert. It was still really early so I spent some time studying my maps and reading before settling for my first night in a hut on this trail. I am sure it is the first of many given there are over 900 huts on the NZ trail network, though strangely nearly none in the north of the country.
Bog Inn Hut would be described by a Real Estate agent as a hut with a lot of history and character. It was built in 1960 and has rough cut planks and a lot of ventilation in the floor and walls that someone had tried to close with sacks. It is painted dark brown inside which makes it very dark. It sleeps 4 with two bunks, had a table and stainless steel bench fit cooking on. Outside it has a tap and more benches for cooking on. I liked the character of the Hut.
Not long after I had been in my sleeping bag I heard some thumps on the porch and what sounded like plastic bag rustling and I thought someone had arrived but no one came in and the sounds went away. There was constant noises as the birds were thumping about on the roof and as it got dark these reduced and it was more the rats or possums tap dancing on the tin roof. A few more times I thought someone had come with the noises on the roof but no just animals.
Then to my surprise someone did come through the door just as it was getting dark. Frederik (sorry if wrong name or spelling) is a young German who is doing the trail. Today was a really long day for him and it turns out we were only a couple of km away last night with him in a shearers quarters. He has been doing door knocking many nights and had had done interesting experiences as a result. This is a great way to meet people. We talked as he cooked in the dark then we settled down to sleep.
Answer : Fungus on a tree