This trail brings so much variety to a day. I started walking in a pine forest before dawn, hung out with a kauri tree, gained god-head status (admittedly, from a weasel), swam in streams, caught up with people I'd met by chance the day before, and hitch-hiked a second time with a groovy dread-locked and happy young couple who gave me some water (thank you, Liam and Maddie!)
But today is not over yet.
In the early evening, I walked for about three kilometres around the shore of an estuary and then waded, hip-deep, to the far side.
There, I ate dinner before squelching in muddy shoes along a farm fence line.Skittish heifers kept me company on the other side of the fence, bucking and blowing.
For whatever reason, today I seem to be on a bit of a mission.
I have a long steep climb up a dirt road to Kauri Mountain. To amuse myself, I took a short video of my shadow in the evening sun.
Towards the end of this road and just below the trailhead, I paused to enjoy the sunset and a fine view of the estuary I had crossed earlier.
I walked for a couple of hours in darkness with my head torch lighting the way before stealth-camping just off the trail.
It was a fine and clear night. All I needed to do was unroll my sleeping bag and mat to make a fine and comfortable home.
I'm tired but pleased. It's been a big day over which I've covered 51 kilometres. I estimate I walked all but a dozen of them. Mission accomplished.