Days 6-7 Kaitaia and into muddy Raetea forest
A foggy start to the day on leaving Ahipara
Someone was very happy with being able to buy a breakfast in Ahipara. I was just as happy to have a break from our daily porridge.
I enjoyed enjoyed a nice natural jasmine fragrance from my pack today, although we’re not yet smelly as have had good showering and laundry facilities over the last couple of days.
The whole 14km was on the road today which involved stepping off for safety every time cars passed. It was a far busier road than we expected but we never felt unsafe. It just took a bit longer with the stop/starting. We had lots to look at to keep things interesting such as:
The 14km whizzed by and I didn’t wonder once what km we were up to. We didn’t even stop for a break. So we ended up in Kaitaia in time for a late lunch. KFC happened to be right opposite our motel and we hadn’t seen any better options walking through the Main Street, so we had a small snack there. Topping off the day we had dinner in the motel restaurant so no dehydrated food for us today.
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve seriously over catered our food. We collected our pre dropped bag here and with what we had left from our original stock we decided to send 2/3 of the new pack home for later use rather than carrying it. And I had even allowed for buying the few meals that we have done. Despite our over abundance of food and thankfully hiker hunger not yet striking, it appears as though I may have lost a bit of weight already.
These pants were very firm fitting when we started but I can’t believe this is all lost weight after only six days. Surely the pants must have stretched or I’m seriously dehydrated??
While walking around Kaitaia in the afternoon checking things out and doing our chores I spotted a mosaic on a building that my brother Clint did quite a few years ago. He lives in Northland but not near the trail. He’s hoping to be able to walk a bit of the forest sections with us in the coming days.
After a big breakfast at the motel we were fuelled for the forest. We took the trail notes safety advice and decided to hitch the 5km out of town which is on busy SH1. We’ve decided we’re not trail purists and don’t need to walk every step of the trail route. We figure we do enough extra kms off trail to compensate. We would have easily done an extra 5km yesterday alone around ahipara and Kaitaia. We were picked up within 5 minutes by a lovely farmer that has done this many times before so knew the drill. Her farm happened to be a bit further along the roads we needed to walk so we stayed with her for a bit extra. Our thinking was we could get further along into the forest which would give us more camping spot options.
After being dropped off we still had around two hours of road walking before hitting the forest. This was quite enjoyable apart from the muggy heat. They were quiet country roads with pleasant country smells. A highlight was the excited welcome we got from some kids when passing through Takahue. They sprinted over to the gate to wave and call out to us.
Entering the forest was a relief from the muggyness. It was cooling peaceful and fresh. Also very beautiful and lush.
The first few hours in the forest were very enjoyable. And the mud didn’t seem so bad. I think we are lucky there haven’t been huge numbers through ahead of us bogging it up, or much rain in the last week. It was certainly deep at points but usually always firm bits to the side. It was just very slow going having to pick every step out.
The track was very steep in sections and quite a few obstacles. It was hard going. As time went on it was starting to become less enjoyable and we just wanted to set up camp.
Thanks to Andrews helpful information we had a few target points of possible camp sites. Given there were so few of them we had to keep going to reach the closest one before dark. Unfortunately it happens to be on the summit of Raetea which at 744m high I think is the highest point in northland. It seems a relatively sheltered spot and was even identified as a camp so we should be safe. Although writing this now I can hear thunder in the distance. It’s not raining but has little mist clouds blowing through. We’re cosy in our tent though.
Day 6 ~ Walked 14km ~ Start: Ahipara ~ End: Kaitaia (km 115)
Day 7 ~ Walked 15.6km, hitched 12km ~ Start: Kaitaia ~ End: Raetea summit (km 142.6)