After licking my wounds for two days I reset my pack only to find I had lost a few items along the path. My flax shoes, flax fishing line, my favourite green hoodie and my skinning knife I had made from an old saw blade.
A costly mistake I rearranged my pack again and started looking at the next leg of the journey. That is when Richard and Rebecca came through the door once again we shared stories from our adventures we decided to head to Opua together. Over hearing our conversation Rory from the UK another thru hiker was also heading that way. So the four of us set off early the next morning toward waitangi forest.
My feet were still a little sensitive and we had a large amount of gravel roads to cover. So I wore my street shoes seeing as I lost my flax ones. It was a wet but productive day covering a lot of ground and settling in for two nights at the waitangi camp grounds waiting for the storm to pass.
Richard and Rebecca had finished their two weeks on the road and said their good byes. Leaving Rory and I to continue over the water into Russell forest…as soon as the rain pasted.
We ended up being ferried across by boat through the mangroves and to the other side. Once we were pasted the farmland and amongst the trees we descended down to papakauri stream and walked a 4 km stretch through a very beautiful still slightly flooded steam in the middle of the forest. Getting to the hut in the late afternoon my poor shoes barely lasting two days on the trail but at least it gave my feet a chance to recover.
Rory had such a fast pace on him, he managed to do 90 mile beach in two days! Despite my asurrances to go without me he would stop on occasion and wait for me to catch up. Russell forest was still wet and the only sign of life was a few poisoned possum and pigs on the hill. I could try for eel at night fall but….I was soo tired I was asleep before the sun was down (so much for the hunter).
The next morning we came onto the road and thumbed a few lifts to the next forest hike through onekainga forest. My feet feeling better but still not quite right were thankful to be on forest floor. We climbed and fell through a mixed range of bush down a wet clay track. Following the endless steam of orange markers silently we made distance occasionally looking up to admire the scenery.
The hard part about barefoot tramping is having no traction on the steep clay tracks and the final peak was so steep! My feet looked for places to centre my weight my walking sticks digging into the earth to help keep balance. Every step measured before I transferred across to the next foot. My shoulders and core tense and breathing heavy as I dragged myself up the hill knowing slipping here would mean doing the same climb all over again. My brain got tired on having to concrete so intensely on my balance.
We came to the pine forest (barefoot best mate) then down into a farmers land with the track notes promising majestic cows (majestic?). Then more road walking into the small town of wananaki where we made camp at a lovely campgrounds. That is when I discovered I had lost my wallet turning my pack upside down I could not find it anywhere. Relying on the fellowship of the trail Rory shouted me a night at the camp grounds. The next morning I hitched into whangarei to sort out my bank stuff. Who knows what I will do with five days off.