Well, it’s been a trip with two distinct parts.

The initial section was on tracks, or no tracks, with limited use. I had the huts all to myself at night. Mostly a challenge, both physically, and mentally. I was on my own from the time I put my tent up for the next week. No complaints there.

The part from my second visit to the Lewis Pass was on well used and maintained tracks, and scattering of people to chat to each day. For much of the time I was on Te Araroa and it had a different feel to my travels from just two summers previously. Many more people, I mean, there were 11 people going over Waiau Pass the day I went over.

I really enjoyed meeting the Canadians, we seem to have a genuine affinity, those philosophical French, the Germans and Swedes. Conversations ranged from profound to polite.


Okay, I’ll say it.

They come in two flavours. Well, the ones I met on the trail this summer.

The lovely variety, the minority, who are super friendly and enthusiastic. I genuinely enjoy these guys.

Then there are the non-friendly, who are suspicious, disbelieving and uninterested in anything I might have to offer conversation wise. Perfect bubble travellers who just happen to be here, not at all interested in learning anything about the country they are travelling through, even from a local.

Self-contained. Not wanting to discuss anything.

My solitary companion at Rocks Hut enjoyed the mud and hardship of Northland. When he stated that I realised I would be battling. No interest in the immediate weather conditions. I carry a small radio which had alerted me to the probability that it would rain later on in the day, and probably tomorrow.

No worries. These days I don’t persist. Just keep smiling.

In the morning he failed to emerge from a sleeping bag, buried for almost 12 hours. No goodbyes, I was out the door and getting on with cracking out the last kilometres of this summer’s tramping season.

It was a low cloud kind of day, humid and cool. My shirt was soon soaking.

Somehow my pack felt heavy on my shoulders, despite the almost complete lack of food within.

How I had managed to lug two weeks’ food and fuel on top of that was a mystery.

The limited amount of uphill on the way through the forest over to Dun Saddle was a struggle, my limbs are mighty tired. Then the long Dun Mountain Bike Trail.

A sign at Rocks Hut still reads 5.5 hours to Brook Street, which used to be well earned. When I was a kid the track was washed out in numerous places, much of the track a serious sidle. There used to be a section where some Number 8 wire was attached to the rock with a decent drop on the side. You could save half an hour or more by dropping to the Duckponds and climbing back up to the track.

Nowadays with the old railway line restored as a generally smooth bike trail you can race along. Four hours is possible.

At Cummins Spur, at the 400 m elevation mark, the clouds disappeared immediately in front of me.

The sun was shining brightly, the sea sparkling blue green.

The noise of cicadas was immense.

A glorious day.

← Day 22 | Rocks Hut, Mt Richmond Forest Park