Part 4 of Bob Kennedy’s Te Araroa Trail blog. Bob started his Te Araroa Trail walk at Cape Reinga in November 2010, a year before it was officially opened.
Te Araroa – The Long Pathway – Part 4
Up and away by 7:00 AM and on my own until 9:00 when a small plane flew north.
At 9:25 I caught up with a heap of footprints. The mystery was solved when I caught up with the school party. I had not been aware of them passing me, but they had late the afternoon before.
Their transport had got blocked off by the tide from going around the Bluff. They had to walk past me by 8 km or so before being picked up.
Their first day walk was 30 km. Some had blisters, and all were tired.
I was keen to pass them and get ahead before it was bus time again.
I had just done that when the first of the Harrison buses stopped to tell me Brenda was on the second bus. She was indeed, along with a huge warm sausage roll, a great big muffin, 2 apples and three bottles of water.
She got in exchange, three empty bottles, a kiss and a little notoriety. I sat for morning tea, as did the children behind me.
I left and never saw them again.
There was the usual traffic, SUVs, quad bikes, mussel spat collectors, one with a truck and front end loader. There were surprisingly few birds, just 8 different types and not many of them.
I noted that I had lunch out of sight of anyone else, even the two seagulls left me on my own to have it in peace. By this time I could see the outline of the range of hills behind Ahipara.
By 3:00 PM I was exiting the beach at Hukatere and had clocked up 42,656 clicks, and by 3:15 and 44,689 clicks Gabriel was at the gate of the Hukatere Lodge to meet me.
The Lodge is certainly a good option when the alternative in another night in a too-small tent. Crisp white sheets to follow a warm shower was just what I needed.
I cooked my dehydrated meal in style, read some of my book and went to bed for a long and restful sleep in a 5-bedroom lodge all to myself.
Not expected by the host or guest were late arrivals in a van. They just wanted the use of the kitchen and dining area so conveniently outside my bedroom door.
They were not noisy but made enough noise to keep me alert in an otherwise quiet place until they retired to their van at 10:20 PM. I am sure they enjoyed the quiet long after I had gone at 7:00 in the morning.
We had found this lodge, the recycled Kawakawa nurses’ home, just days prior when checking out those stopping-off points for my walk south.
There is accommodation (?) and a camp site near the beach at the end of Hukatere Road, and I knew that was where the school children were staying.
I chose to walk the extra 2 km to the Lodge instead. The Lodge has been very nicely refurbished and would suit a group away stay.