North Island Day 26, 28/09/17 ~ 北島第26日・2017年9月28日

Started at 6:15 at dawn to be in time for low tide at 7:50 and also to walk State Highway 1 with less traffic.  There was already a lot of traffic on the Highway and it terrified me when walking on the shoulder.  Most of the section I would walk today was sealed road, where cars passing by me at a terrific speed, and many dead animal and birds on the path. Moreover, walking on a sealed road could hurt my knees and feet, dogs of residences and farms bark loud at me, etc, etc... not fun.  Watched out for cars very carefully not to be knocked down like possums. 

In Drewa, made a little detour to visit parents of my friend Darren.  They greeted me warmly and gave me some toasts.  Went to Macpac shop in a shopping centre in Silverdate and talked with shop staff about my broken walking pole.  He was pleased to swap both of poles with brand new ones with no charges, saying "These walking poles come in pairs" - what a good surprise! 

Arrived at a campsite at Stillwater at 16:30.  The facility was a bit shabby, but The manager Peter Buckley was a very warm person - he kindly instructed how to cross the river tomorrow and gave me good tips walking TA.  In addition, he did not charge me, saying "I want to support people working hard to achieve their big goals".  Wow, it was second good surprise today.  So far, many people support me and push my back to carry on.  Walked 32km today.




North Island Day 25, 27/09/17 ~ 北島第25日・2017年9月27日

Worried about track conditions after the heavy rain last night, but the section I walked today was easy one with no issues, no stream crossings.  Got lost.  When I was taking a close look on the map with a compass in my hand, a farmer passing by showed me my way.  TA signs are so small and not visible that it is very easy to miss if not paying a good attention.  Would have been a different story if I have had a GPS that shows my location on the map every metres.  It was a big challenge to me who relied on 1:50,000 topo map with a compass.  

Most of the TA trail runs on a rural road where any tourists are hardly seen, so it is very obvious when a TA walker with a large pack is walking on the road.  Yesterday a man said me "Oh you are the first trail walker of this season.  That makes me feel spring has come around!".  So far local people along the trail were very warm - hope they will be like that when more walkers will be on a TA trail in the future.  

In Puhoi, stayed at a Air B&B backpacker. $25/night.  It was only me there and whole space was mine.  Cooked wood ears (wild mushroom), which I collected from a fallen tree on trail just before Puhoi, for dinner.  My first experience to eat fresh wood ears as they are sold dried at shops.  At night my friend shiatsu massage therapist Taka visited me and had a good treatment of my body.  He also instructed me an exercise to maintain my body in a good shape.  Thank you very much Taka for visiting me long way from home late at night.  Walked 18km today.




North Island Day 24, 26/09/17 ~ 北島第24日・2017年9月26日

Mandy's backyard where I pitched tent last night had a stage and she holds a music festival that accommodates 3,000 people in the summer season.  $10 for camping including use of shower and toilet.  According to the forecast, it will be heavy rain at night today.  Thought about staying at Warkworth nearby, but there was no budget accommodation there for some reason.  Expecting to camp at paddock of a farmhouse somewhere, decided to carry on until the rain comes.  

First 12km was a steep uphill with ups and downs that made me sweat again and took me 5 hours. Emptied all water I had.  Had a cuppa with a cake at a cafe at the foot of the mountain, and filled my drink bottle.  Pet rooster at the cafe was friendly.  

From this point trail followed a sealed road, so changed boots to sandals.  Saw a road closure sign after a shot walk.  Asked a lorry driver just passed by - he said there was a landslide recently and road is OK to go through on foot.  Soon the sky got very dark and it became rainy at 16:00.  A local man with a dog passed by so asked him if he knows someone who would allow me to pitch a tent in paddock.  The man said come to my place!  

He kept goats as hobby and upstairs of the barn was refurbished nicely as a fully self-contained guest accommodation.  If staying in a caravan using kitchen and shower of the guest room costs only $20. As it turned to torrential rain, took the offer with appreciation.  The hosts were Swiss couple who showed me milking goats for home-made cheese.  A newborn kid was so cute.  An unexpected comfy relaxed stormy night - so much appreciated a good fortune.  Walked 22km today.





North Island Day 23, 25/09/17 ~ 北島第23日・2017年9月25日

As being expected for a long day today, started at 7:30 just after the day break.  The first half about 20km went through a sealed road and sandy beach.  Blisters got worse these days wearing boots, so I put on sandals today.  

There was a roped area to protect nestling of water birds like NZ Dotterel.  It was smooth down to the point across a small river.  It was high tide and water was unexpectedly deep - it came up to under my chest.  Large Pakiri river ahead is impassible during high tide, so picked up a detour route inland on the map.  It was a private road and bumped into a garden of someone's house.  Luckily there was no one there, and passed through the place to the public road.  Was nervous as it could be trespassing. 

When walking on the road, met a child from a farmhouse nearby.  He was going to buy an icecream at the shop, so decided to go with him.  Bought an ice-cream for myself, too, and filled my water bottle which helped me a lot later.  Said bye to the child, and went on.  

Came to a mountain trail after an hour walk.  Saw a sign at the entrance of the track that said 7km, 4-5 hours walk - doubted my eyes.  It was already 15:00 and the campsite I was staying at will be more than 10km away from the point.  Needed to walk really hard to get there by sunset.  Steep uphill continued that made me sweat a lot.  Was extra hard as having walked 25km already from early morning.  On downhill section was steep, muddy and slippery that made me struggle to how to get down: that explained it takes a long time to go.  

Lost my way many times - even accidentally walked back the way I have came down.  Became breathless, and made my way through this forest in 3 hours.  Another hour walk to the place for camping.  When I pitched a tent at backyard of a residence, it was after 19:00 and getting dark.  Was a long day.  Walked 35km (actual distance was 40km including detour?) today.






Eiji's Te Araroa Walk appearances on Internet media  インターネット・メディアでの栄治のテ・アラロア・ウォーク紹介

Eiji's Te Araroa walk articles featured by internet media were all very good and well worth reading. Eiji's fundraising for Rout...