Te Araroa day 121 – normally I’m not keen on sharing my food

April 2nd 2017
North Mavora Lake – Wash Creek
20 miles 
Total distance: 1726.6 miles

It was surprisingly warm and aside from the vehicle which came careering along the 4wd drive track incredibly fast and very loud, I slept really well and woke naturally before my alarm. Only to find out later than the clocks had gone back so I gained an hour sleep, which meant I got a good 11 hours! The sand flies were hideous and we packed up quickly to try and get away from them. 

We continued walking along the 4wd track next to the lake until we came to the campground. Glad we didn’t stay there because it was busy especially with it being a weekend, and it was the place where – spoiler alert – they filmed the Boromir death scene, so Colin tells me. We used the toilet, got water and moved on. The trail continues through some nice foresty bits and through some flat open grassy areas. As we walked through the forest we were all fairly spread out, and we had nice views of the lake. It tried to rain a bit on and off but it never became anything more than drizzle. 



We bumped into Hugo who had left earlier than us, not realising the clocks had changed, not that he would have given a shit about the time, but he has some rather large holes in his tent so the sand flies were attacking him very early. We sat and had a bit of lunch together, it wasn’t raining or cold but Sandy and Colin were trying to protect themselves from the sand flies. Hugo said he was running out of food so I gave him some of my chocolate which was very out of character! He offered me a kiss in return, the only thing he had to offer, but I politely declined. Just before we set off again I went into the woods to have a wee and I managed to wee on my shorts I think, which was a first and pretty unpleasant, or they could have been made wet by a plant, but I’m really not sure what happened. 


A short distance later we got to a swing bridge just as a group of 20 kids were also getting there. It was a one at a time swing bridge which meant we would be waiting there a while as all the kids were queuing and jostling for places. But luckily for us their leader came along and made them all get out of the way so we could cross first! The trail notes state that the next part of the trail is ‘unformed farm route’ and ‘slow going’. So we decided to walk on the gravel road that runs parallel to the trail having felt that we had already done our dues with unformed farm routes. 


We cruised along that for a few miles, we were passed by quite a few cars which all went by so fast they were kicking up stones and covering us in dust. I really wish people would just slow down a bit. Sandy and Colin got ahead a bit and when they stopped Crusher and I caught them up, they were stood next to a sign which was an access point for anglers to get down to the river, which was where the official trail was. It was getting hot walking along the road and we were all in need of water. The field we would have had to cross contained 5 mean looking bulls. 

Colin said he would just jump the fence further down the road and get back to the trail that way and I said you shouldn’t go jumping fences because you will be on private land that you shouldn’t be, plus the fence is electric. Somewhere in our conversation I think we had crossed wires because Colin totally shut down and looked really pissed off. We carried on walking along the road. I felt like there was a bit of an atmosphere. I have a tendency to just shut down when I am pissed off too and it’s something I don’t like in myself. Seeing it in someone else I liked it even less. It’s something I have been actively working on trying to improve about myself, so I asked him what was wrong and said we should talk about it. 


We talked and it turned out that we were both saying the same thing but thought the other was saying something different. An easy mistake to make, after all, we really don’t speak the same language! We found an access point and made our way back down to the river and back to the official trail. To re-enforce the ‘everything is ok now isn’t it’ situation I shared around my Percy Pigs that I had been sent from England. Again, very out of character for me to share sweets, especially Percy Pigs. 


The edges of the river were a bit scuzzy and Sandy, who already had wet feet volunteered to stand in the middle of the river and fill everyone’s bottles for them. With everyone now properly hydrated we carried on, and Crusher got to experience the ‘real’ TA, where you have to spot orange poles in the distance and there is no path to follow! 

We found our way through all the spikey plants and long grasses until we found a faint trail to follow. Of course they could have been cow paths we were following but the occasional orange pole confirmed that we were still on track. We walked along a very tall fence with grass over head height. Crusher said it was fun at first but it gets old really quickly, she was kinda over it already. And that’s the truth, trudging through unformed farmland gets really tiresome really quickly. 


Colin and Sandy found a nice flat area above the river where we could camp. It was still only 5pm but the sun would be setting earlier tonight, plus after this there would be nowhere to camp. It was a beautiful evening, and the only sand flies about were the ones that had been trapped in my tent all day and were unfortunately still alive. It was nice to be able to sit with the tent open for a while, until it cooled off very quickly as soon as the very bright sun set for the day. 


Here’s hoping there isn’t too much condensation tonight.

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I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps. 

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