TA Day 21 – 500km

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13th November


Bushcamp 490.6km to Puhui 521.7km

The goal was bacon and eggs with a large coffee at the Dome Cafe only an hour from my campsite. When I arrived a chicken burger and chocolate milkshake were ordered. Not quite sure how craving change so quickly.

I sat outside the cafe, very conscious of my offensive body smell. The morning sun was warming my table as I was eating my chicken burger. A chicken walked up next to me. It stopped and looked me in the way only a bird can do. With its head twisted, one eye was fixed on me. Twisting its head to the right, the other eye was staring at me. The chicken repeated this for several mouthfuls of my chicken burger. Did it know.

I looked at my chicken burger. I looked at the chicken. Suddenly my burger didn’t seem so tasty. The chicken made me feel very guilty.

It’s been over a week since I’ve showered with soap, despite the fact that there are so many opportunities to take a shower. When I get to Auckland, which is only a couple of days away, I’ll buy some of that camping soap. The stuff I can wash my clothes, hair and body with. I will endeavor to smell a little better with so much civilization around.

It was 10am when I left the cafe. (Photo above). Rural roads, forestry roads and farmland were my friends for the day. Despite the lack of trail it was a pleasant day of hiking. I put my headphones in and started listening to an audiobook. I rereading or is a relistening to the complete series of Game of Thrones books. Each book is around 40 plus hours, so I’m entertained on these quiet rural roads. Download some audiobooks for free below. Game of Thrones, maybe.

At some stage today, without even noticing, I crossed the 500km mark. Only 2500km to go.

I created a hill after seeing it in the distance for hours. On the other side I saw the skyline if Auckland city for the first time. (Photo above) despite being a fair distance away the unmistakable spire tower was visible. Probably not in the photo.

I lost my first toenail today. I have a habit of such foot damage, losing toenails on every long trail I hike. Why do we have toenails?

I switched to hiking in lightweight trail runners for the first time. I’m using Altra Lone Peaks 4.0. My trail running shoes are comfortable but still I lose toenails. My favorite hiking shoe was the ones I used hiking the Appalachian Trail,Vasque Breeze 2 shoes. Will the Lone Peaks become my new favorite!

Near sunset I arrived in the town of Puhui. A blue Ferrari pulled into the carpark just as I ordered my meal. The working class crowd in the bar started gossiping. The tall supermodel and shorter, older man, ordered their drinks. Within 15 minutes they sped off down the road. The sound of the Ferrari accelerating is a special sound inky a revhead could appreciate. I finished off my salt and pepper squid and Tui beer.

With not much in the way of camping options I set up my tent near the public toilets and tennis court. If you think I live a glamorous life, think again. But the salt and pepper squid was nice.

Next – Day 13 – Stillwater Paradise

All the tips you need to hike the Te Araroa Trail : 
Complete Guide to the Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa Trail Resupply Guide
Te Araroa Trail Gear List
Te Araroa Trail Gear Review

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  1. Have you tried wearing a bigger size shoe to save your toenails? I don’t have experience but I’ve heard it can help.

    1. Hi Stephanie, my shoes are 1 full size bigger than I normally wear. Feet swell and grow longer when long distance hiking. My shoes are not the problem, this is normal for me, unfortunately.

  2. Is the navigation pretty easy on the TA Brad? I expect it’s quite well marked. From your description, it sounds quite a lot like a UK trail: lots of farmland and opportunities for a quick beer but light on truly wild country. I realise things are different on the South Island. It seems peculiar that, in a lightly populated country like NZ, they can’t devise a trail that stays in the bush. Especially when you consider that the Appalachian Trail almost completely avoids agriculture despite bypassing several major cities including NYC..

    1. In the north island I’m very confused by this trail. Canoe trips, paid boat trips across rivers, paid campsites everywhere when there are forest areas nearby. I can’t wait for the south island. Navigation is fairly easy but the trail changes in a weekly basis, year that’s right, it changes week to week. I’m constantly updating my gpx tracks and trail notes. Many hikers with older notes have been walking for hours on old trails before finding out the hard way. This trails needs some work

  3. I’ll almost always go for the salt and pepper squid. I remember the 13 days we all went without showers in Africa.

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