Thursday, 1 January 2015

Day 57. Burtons Track to Makahika Outdoor Centre.

Today 29.4 km. Total 1528.4 km (+12). 10 hours (0800-1800).

Once again it took longer than normal to pack up and I was on my way at 0800.  I knew it was only 1 km to the 1500 km mark so when I saw some Toi Toi fronds recently cut down on the track I gathered several and carried them up the hill to make sure I had something to mark the distance.  At the junction and start of Burtons Track I marked 1500 km and took a photo.  It took a couple of goes to get the timing right for a jumping shot with the camera self timer but I ended up with a suitable shot to celebrate the half way point of the trail. 

1500 km HALF WAY!

View from the start of Burtons Track

I was pretty chuffed to be at this milestone and it almost seemed to come too soon. For some reason I had it in my mind that Wellington was the half way point. I sat for a while absorbing my achievement and thinking about how the journey was continually exceeding my expectations and how much I was enjoying myself. 

As I was up high I had internet connection so I posted my half way photo to Facebook and I received a message from am old army friend offering accommodation in Waikanae which was great.

It was nice sitting be sun looking at the view but I forced myself to get moving at 0840. Burtons track was a nice track.  It started dropping down to a river at a nice gradient to allow fast travel without being too steep.  The track was in good condition and was clearly marked. 

After 30 minutes Geoff came thundering past at a very fast pace.  10 minutes later the rest of the guys flew past. I walk at a faster than average pace through the bush but these guys made me feel like a granny with their impressive speed.

Burtons Track

Burtons Track

Burtons Track

10 minutes later I was surprised to see the guys at the river but when I saw Geoff soaking wet I realised why. He had tried to cross the Tokamaru River using a log and slipped ending up fully immersed,  pack and all. Luckily he didn't hurt anything except his pride.  It was especially funny given the amount of river crossings throughout the day where there was no way to avoid getting wet feet.

I kept going and shortly after the guys came storming past again. 10 minutes later I caught up as they must have taken a break and then they disappeared into the distance leaving me in their dust.

The track continued along the river crossing numerous streams and the river a couple of times.  

The guys at Tokamaru

Crossing Tokamaru River (thanks to Romain for taking photo)

And 10 minutes later crossing it again

After a bit in the open there was an information board at the site of Burtons old house. The track is named after the guy who built it to access his farm. He also built a swingbridge across the river and one day he fell from the Bridge and broke his leg. He crawled back to his hut, fed his dogs and then crawled nearly 4 km in 12 hours to get help.  Unfortunately he died in hospital from his injuries.

From this point the trail was on the track he had built by hand. Burton was not afraid of hard work! It followed the river undulating in and out of small streams through the bush and then baby pines.

Some open bits

Nice big orange triangle

The track Burton made

Burtons Track

Interesting roots

View once through the bush

It was then just over 5 km of gravel roads, coincidentally passing some land I had considered buying a couple of years ago and past the reservoir.  I had lunch on the dam enjoying the views.

Lunch on the dam

The Reservoir

Interesting flower if you could call it that

The next track,  the Mangahao-Makahika Track,  was great.  It was well maintained though did have frequent minor boggy bits. It started with a climb and then undulated for a while before climbing onto a ridge and then followed the ridge line for a while. After a viewpoint it dropped quickly to an old tramline that it roughly followed crossing, and walking in,  the Makahika Stream continuously for nearly an hour.   I was really happy to be back wearing the Inov8 shoes as they drain so quickly after stream crossings and have excellent grip in the mud.

Lovely track

Clear and fast

Goblin trees

View from Archers Viewpoint

The trail through the stream

Into the farmland

The final river crossing

And nearly at the road

There was some lovely campsites near the end under Punga Trees which I did consider camping at but I decided to push on knowing there was potentially some Trail Angels near the end of the track.  Being Christmas Eve there was a strong likelihood they were not home or had family around but it was worth the risk.  If I couldn't stay with them I would just camp at the next trail car park.

The track then emerged from the bush into farmland for a couple of km and then it was 1.5 km to the Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre.  As I approached I saw there were several cars and it looked like they did have visitors.  I figured I would just ask to fill my water bottles and move on.  As I got to the gate I saw a blackboard welcoming TA trampers for Christmas which was a great sight.

I walked to the house and was warmly welcomed as if I was an expected guest by Sally and John. I was told dinner was at 1830, my room was in the lodge below the house and to use the shower, washing machine and help myself to food. Sally and John had welcomed 10 TA trampers for Christmas with amazing hospitality.  They had been told I was coming by the guys. It was like a little reunion as I came down the hill to the lodge. Joey,  Geoff, Julein and Romain ("The guys"/"Team USA and France") I was expecting.  Also there was Jack Saari (famous for wearing short pink shorts on trail), Ange and Phil ("The Brits" I walked with through the rain in Pureroa Forest) and Arne and Lena (the tall SOBO Germans who were going NOBO through Pureroa Forest when I met them). Apparently Fabian was invited to stay but had made the decision to continue on and camp at the trail car park.

I had a shower but didn't bother doing washing as I was leaving in the morning. At 1830 we walked up to the house and met Sally and John's family.  I am not sure what they thought of all these scruffy trampers crashing their Christmas Eve Dinner but they were all very friendly.

We sat around talking and drinking (Sally gave me a lovely white wine). Then dinner was ready and after the family we went through,  oldies first which was the Brits and me. I didn't mind being called old when it meant being first in for food. Dinner was a Duck Breast perfectly cooked,  a green salad with capsicum,  avocado,  cucumber and raspberries with a balsamic vinegar dressing and ciabatti bread - fantastic!

Though I had intended to keep walking tomorrow  Sally was forcefully convincing to make me stay using underhand tactics like listing all the food that would be served with Christmas lunch.  My resolve quickly weakened and then collapsed in the force of good company and great food versus alone in a hut eating a dehydrated meal. 

We continued talking until it got dark then the younger ones went back down and built a fire.  All us oldies stayed at the house talking with Sally and John and their parents.  I then headed down to the fire and at 2330 we went into the lodge and a few of us saw in Christmas at midnight before going to sleep.

Relaxing before dinner


Night 57

1 comment:

  1. Glad you had a chance to catch up with friends on Christmas eve. :)