Day 8

Kaitaia to km 138 camp – 22km (138km total)

Times fallen = 1

With only 22km to walk today and most of it on roads, I decided to have a slow start to the morning. The others hiked out. One couple to hitch and skip the forest section and the others started walking earlier.

Being a Sunday I went and checked out the church service across the road from the hostel, before heading out at about lunch time.

As I was walking out of Kaitaia, I ran into Roger a hiker from Hong Kong. So we walked the highway together. The notes say to hitch the 5km section until the track turns off of the main highway, but it wasn’t that bad. There wasn’t a lot of shoulder to hike on but it was no worse than the road between Ahipara and Kaitaia.

Road walking on a gravel road, with the mountain range I am about to enter in the distance

Once off of the highway, most of the afternoon was spent walking on gravel roads past dairy farms. Once at Takahue, the road became a thin 4WD track and more forest like. Parts of it were beautiful as we walked beside the river.

Lupine on the way up to the start of Raetea

As we were starting to head up to the start of Raetea Forest, we ran into a local on a motorbike who told us there there was a campsite just round the corner. When we got there, no one else was there and it was all long grass, with patches of cow manure. It would have been fine to camp at, but I decided to press on and see if I could find the others. I continued another 2km until the end of the 4WD track, where the climb into Raetea begins and set up camp.

I also had my first of what I am sure will be many falls. At the first campsite which I didn’t stay at. I went to step backwards and there was a big tuff of grass, which meant I couldn’t step backwards and fell on my butt!

The plan is to get up as early as I can tomorrow morning to give myself as much time as possible to tackle Raetea Forest. All the reports I hear, is that it is so muddy it takes 12 hours to do 16km. Lets see what happens…

Today I am thankful for beautiful campsites in forests.

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