You don't have to be a millionaire to feel like one.
This is the view from my camp tonight. The last low rays of sunset look awfully pretty illuminating the cliffs on Great Barrier Island, don't they?
It's felt disconcerting and perplexing to find so few people on the trails. So, far I've encountered only five other Te Araroa through-walkers and perhaps a dozen other people, ranging from day-trippers to hunters. Otherwise, nada.
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!)
We need to keep things simple, but not too simple. - Albert Einstein
While walking out of the Russell Forest after breaking camp, I thought about simplicity.
Sometime this afternoon, I passed the 300 kilometre mark. It's a modest achievement but an important one to me. It means that I've walked about 10% of the trail and that's what I focus on. I don't dare think about the enormity of the remaining 90% stretching out before me.
Once I relaxed onto the trail again, the day flowed with highs and lows toward the Maori tribal lands and the Russell Forest.
It's interesting how old patterns reassert themselves. Once again, on the first day of walking, I'm placing unnecessary and unwelcome pressure on myself.
I awoke to the sound of feet crunching on gravel and heavy breathing passing by on the trail a few feet from my sleeping place.
It's Friday, 3rd of January 2014, and I'm on the trail again. This afternoon, I returned to Northland by coach. It's loaded with holiday-makers and people going home.
Kerikeri boasts a "New World" supermarket. 24 hours after leaving Camp Paradise, I wandered its neon-lit aisles in a daze, my senses bombarded by distraction, with my rucksack dominating most of a shopping trolley. The shelves were stocked with choice and yet offered so little of what I really wanted.
By the time I reached the junction, the skies began to weep again. Cars and trucks hissed by on the main road, trailing spray over wet tarmac,No hope of a lift here: the road was dead straight.
Something about the second forested range, the Raetea Forest, makes it very different to the other two ranges on this northern section of the trail.