Friday, 2 January 2015

Day 64. Thorndon to Island Bay - NORTH ISLAND TRAIL END.

Today 11.5 km. Total 1686 km. 4 hours (0930-1020, 1130-1440).

Di and Barry gave me a lovely breakfast and then dropped me back off on the trail. Being the pedantic hardheaded purist I walked 3 meters back to where I left the trail then back again to start for the day (I also had received an offer to drop off my pack with Pru and Andrew my hosts for tonight but declined for the same hardheaded stubborn purist reason).

Once again the trail was going from park to park up and down lots of hills. It started through the Botanical Gardens and to the top of the Wellington Cable car.

Wellington Cable Car

Pathway on the trail

It was then back down again and as the trail passed near the city I did a detour to Bivouac Outdoor shop. I wanted to replace my top as the shoulders had worn down to the degree that I was getting sunburnt through my shirt. I also was not happy that my shoes had a tiny hole in them after only 200km (admittedly through the Tararuas) and while the manager would not replace them as he said TA was not normal usage he did offer half price on another pair which I accepted. I plan to reinforce the wear areas with Shoe Glue and wear the new ones through the Richmond Ranges and until they wear out and send the old ones I will repair back to my parents to forward on when the new pair are dead. Unfortunately they did not have the same top as I wanted but phoned the IceBreaker store for me and they had it so I walked there to buy it.

Once back on the trail it was up near the university. Here I had the first unintended detour as I took the notes literally when they said to walk past the cemetery instead of through it. This was a 5 minute continuing up through the university and emerging at the road that did not match the notes so I backtracked and turned at the Cemetary. It was then back down again to another little shopping area and then back up another hill through some bush and past a community garden before going back down again and through Central Park which was lovely.

Emerging through Central Park I had my next unintended detour. The trail notes said to go to the top of Bell Road so I did, not seeing the proper trail at the bottom of the road and seeing, but going past due to lack of markers, another trail to get to the top of the Road.  Bell Road turned into another road and at that point there was an old vehicle track as described in the notes. I was surprised how overgrown it was and after only 50 meters it dead ended and was obviously not the right one.  I headed back to the track I had seen and took this which emerged onto a street. As my maps are 1:50,000m scale shrunk down to A4 size they do not have enough detail for street navigation so I just followed instinct and kept following paths back down and eventually came upon a trail marker for the City to Sea trail that I should be on and I was back on track.

The trail wandered through bush, forest and open grass past various sports and social clubs and playing fields to the Golf Corse. It then started climbing up through a Trusts Land to a ridge. I was surprised as I started the climb to see goats as I would have thought this close to town the pests would be controlled but a little further along saw a sign saying they were using the goats to eat the exotic plant weeds and thin out the vegetation. Once they had done this they would be removed and replanting would occur.

Looking at the city through the drizzle

Pohutakawas were everywhere in the numerous little parks we passed through

On the ridgeline I started to get excited as I was getting close to finishing the North Island. While I had passed the physical half way point several days ago for me wellington is the emotional half way mark. 

There was a really strong wind but the views were great as I descended down the ridge to Island Bay. I headed through the village and had two more misdirections before finally finding the end point, a plaque in Shortland Park on the coast.  

There I met Andrew Simm who is the Trustee of the Te Araroa Wellington Trust. He and Pru had messaged me inviting me to stay with them in Wellington which I readily accepted as it would be great to meet one of the unsung heros of the TA trail, the trustees who put in countless volunteer hours to fight though land access, build trails and maintain the trails that we walk on.

Andrew took my photo at the TA North Island end Plaque then we walked across the road so I could touch the sea.

Poor Cabbage Tree battered by the wind on Tawatawa Ridge Track

Ocean in sight coming down the ridge

These blue Tsunami lines are all over the city


The Te Araroa Plaque marking the end of the North Island

We drove back to his place and I met Pru who was incredibly welcoming. I had a shower and then sat down with Andrew and Pru with cake and tea while we talked.

Andrew has done extensive tramping in New Zealand and has done the PCT with a friend (Trail Name Flying Kiwis) and has been active in the Te Araroa Trust in wellington. They are working hard on opening new tracks to remove some of the road walking and it is exciting to see where they are intending to take the trail. It is great to hear the background on what is required for this.

Pru has had an interesting background and I loved hearing about her time as a flight attendant with Air NZ way back when things were very different.

Andrew and Pru had a New Years Eve Party to go to and invited me along but I chose to just chill out and ended up watching the Edinborough Military Tattoo on TV.

I went to be at 2230 as I was too tired to stay up until midnight.

Night 64 & 65

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