After leaving the forests and walking into Russell from Kerikeri we took another impromptu rest day. The weather was still baking hot, but as Englishmen this is a rare luxury and we are loving it! We rested up and then headed south towards Whangarei.
While trekking through the Russell Forrest the humidity soared up to ~100% and my glasses became fogged up to the extent that I had to walk blind. Luckily though it wasn’t too much farther to the hut and we had a wet nights sleep. Unfortunately once we were out of the forest we were on roads. Lots and lots of roads. Road walking is a completely different style of walking – it is much harder on your feet. This is where we all switched to our Darn Tough Vermont Micro-Crew socks. Whilst the Full-Cushion boot socks are warm and cushioned, the Micro-Crews however are thinner and allow for swelling!
Unfortunately whilst on the road we became drenched as wet weather rolled in, and on top of that our camera batteries ran out so we only have a few photos.
I guess it was a good time for the camera batteries to run out because there weren’t photo ops during that stretch. One story that sticks out though is our attempt at the Mackerel Forest Track. This track started with a 5 minute easy scenic walk through pine trees and long soft grass but, after a quick river crossing, it goes straight into head-height gorse and pampas grass which with a combined effort cut up your legs and arms and anything else that gets in their way. This in itself wouldn’t be too bad but unfortunately the Mackerel Forest Track also features streams, hidden by grass, that spread out and create large areas of knee-height mud (we know this because DM (who was leading) field tested its depth… by accident). Oh, and then it started raining, so our boots filled up with water again. Like before though, our feet were warm and not uncomfortable. Right as we were ending the trail, about 1/2 a mile from the road, we came to warning tape blocking the trail suggesting that we were prohibited from entering. Well this is a dilemma since that was the hardest 6 miles yet and we were not going back. It turns out that the warning tape was for the logging machinery in use. Cautiously we approached and I motioned to the drivers who allowed us to pass and everything worked out ok.
I think that was the most memorable day/event but we’ve been having a great time and getting loads of miles behind us. Right now we are Rangiriri after walking our longest day yet 21 miles!
Reaching the top of Moirs Hill was our last climb before descending into Auckland. It was a nice milestone to reach. Despite a lot of bumps along the trail, we’re still having a great time and looking forward to the rest of our trek!
On behalf of the Tasty Trekkers,