Dome Forest

Day 23 and 24

Time to leave the beach and head up and into the forest, including the Dome Forest. We knew from others before us, that the trail would be muddy and slow. So mentally prepared for two long days. The usual campsite at Dome Cafe was not being recommended due to unclean conditions at the campsite, so we found other places to stay. My plan was to be at Puhoi in two days to take a kayak ride, do the stops in the forst were planned around making it easy to get to Puhoi. Our little group stayed at Camp 485, which was merely a field with a composting toilet and water brought in by the farmer. For the second night I choose The Woolshed run by Stu, a TA alumni. Everyone else chose a different place, so I had a night on my own. The first night on my own so far on the trip. The Woolshed was amazing, but turns out the other place was even more amazing, but a little further from Puhoi.

The first day was a mere 15 kms, but took 6.5 hours to complete. It started off easy until the end of the road and then it went straight up over farm-land, then the forest started. The trail notes told me the forest would be slow going, and it was. It was up and down, steep in places and a good helping of mud. And 100% enjoyable. The campsite was a slight challenge, as there were not that many flat spots, and I wanted to camp as far away as possible from the others, so they would not need to hear me snoring at night. The sun was shining and the afternoon was spent chatting. During the day we met and talked to another local tramping group, again a large group of ladies, about 20 of them. They seemed to be enjoying the trail, which is very nice to see.

Somewhere along the trail I managed to break the tip off one of my walking poles. So, I packed that away and continued on with a single pole. The next day I broke the tip off the second hiking pole so it too got packed away. When I got home, I took a closer look at the damage, and discovered the tips were not actually broke, but rather the tips had came off. My theory is that the plunging through mud caused suction on the tip and the tip got stuck in the mud and just came off. Good news, I believe I have been able to repair the tips with new ones.

At the end of a particularly hard section of bush walking, there was an ice-chest full of soft-drinks in ice cool water and an offer to take one. This is known as Trail Magic, and was very much appreciated. The drinks are free with walkers encouraged to “pay it forward”. Although I walked by myself through the forest, I share lunch and magic moments like this with my fellow walkers, as essentially we are never more than 30 minutes apart. And we seem to always catch up to each other.

On the second day I ended up making it a longer day. I only decided to make it a longer day once I got to the place I was planning to stay. But it was only 2 pm, and I felt good, so decided to push on for another 7 kms, getting me just a little closer to Puhoi. I have to be at Puhoi by noon to catch the outgoing tide, and doing 17 kms before noon can be a challenge. Doing 10 kms is much easier. I stayed with Stu, who was quite the lad and we spent a god hour chatting about life and things. His woodshed has been converted into a place for Te Araroa walkers, but is essentially his man cave. The others stayed at the first place and got free food as part of their stay. Maybe I made the wrong choice. I decision was in part driven by the weather forecast, which called for heavy overnight rain, and I was keen to be indoors, which the woodshed certainly offered. But, I was by myself.

Time Church at Pakiri.
Bush tracks are slow going. It did take 4 to 5 hours to walk the 7 kms.
Leaving the Beach behind and heading up through farmland.
Muddy trails. Around her I broke my first hiking pole.
The trail through the bush is very nice.
Lunch at the top. We are complete Trail Trash at this point, with our stuff all over the place.
Trail Magic. Unbelievable.
500 kms done.
My destination for the night is near those hills in the background.
The Woolshed. Very comfortable and a good way to stay out of the rain.
Gumboot fence.