December 22, 2016
km traveled today: 29
total TA km: 1615
We woke up on Christmas Eve at 6am in the loft. I had dreamt that another kid had fallen onto the concrete and said a thank you to no one in particular when there was no one laying on the cement below us. We packed up in the cold morning air and at 6:45 we were walking away from the quaint, tin-sided, old hut.
We crossed the river on a swing bridge and walked down the gravel road south, past the car park and to the start of the Pukeatua track. The covered board showed us the whole of the 14km of mountain track we had left till road. We had to summit an 812m peak and then go down.
We started up the track as the sky threatened to rain on us. It was humid and steep. The rain came about fifteen minutes into the hike up the slippery slope. We stopped for a bar break, drank some water and then moved on. We moved quickly to stay warm and not have to pull in late. Over our shoulders we could see mountains shrouded in clouds and the rain coming down on them. The track stayed in good condition, and meant for relatively easy tramping. Aside from the mud pits every now and then, we flew through the forest.
By 9am, we reached the 812m summit. Windy and cloudy, the summit proved pretty inhospitable for us, but we ate a bar and had some water anyways. Then with the sight of ocean and town in our view, we decided to book it down the 6km to road where we could read Harry Potter.
The 6km took longer than expected, but we finished by 11:30 and resolved that we’d eat lunch in town. The walk down from the summit was nice. Perhaps not my favorite part though, as my knees didn’t really appreciate the continuous pounding.
New Zealand has a pest problem, namely with Possums and Stoats. The DOC has employed the use of the controversial 1080 pesticide. We passed through private property which had obviously just set traps, and beside a bunch of trees were Possums, very much still alive, trapped and staring at us as we walked by. With those cheerful sightings we almost ran out of the forest to the road.
Just before we crossed a swing bridge to the road we hit the 1,600km marker. When we hit the road though, it was Harry Potter time. We read Harry Potter as the weather cleared into a really nice, hot, sunny day. We were recommended a cafe by a passing guy, but the place wasn’t quite open yet so we decided to push on.
We got into Waikanae at 2 and promptly found the pizza place where we ordered four large pizzas. Afterwards we headed to the New World and stocked up for two days. Deliberating over whether or not to get dried shrimp, we left the grocery store at 4, and walked to our holiday park, El Rancho.
The holiday park was a Christian Summer camp that wasn’t in session. But they played Madagascar for the guests and myself and a couple little kids really enjoyed it.
For dinner we mad a huge pot of spaghetti with a ton of veggies and a kilogram of hamburger meat and a lot of tomato sauce. Dessert consisted of some delicious canned peaches and our ever favorite “Cookie Bear hundreds and thousands” cookies.
After dinner we played a couple games of hearts and called it a good night. Eager to see what Santa would leave in our tent vesti’s were went to bed very happy.
Much love and Merry Christmas,