Waking naturally at 6:10am?!? I stretched my legs in bed to get a feel for any pain. Not feeling too bad, I jumped up and started readying myself for a day back on the trail!
I took extra caution to bandage my two remaining blisters and used hikers wool around the old now healed ones. With my new blister proof socks and trail runners I felt comfortable hitting the trail.
I set off at 7:30am, the first 9km was a road walk to the start of the Herekino Forest trail. The last couple of kms was through road works, but no drama. After a few snaps and morning tea, I hit the forest.
Wow! Talk about a steep grade, I don’t think I was 2km in to the 15km trek before I felt locking in my right knee – not a good sign. Upset with this, I popped some pain relief and anti-inflammatories and pushed on.
The trail was brutal… muddy, narrow with very few places to stop and a steep grade – up and down. There was a couple of big downpours on the ascent, which only served to make the trail even more slippery. Despite taking my time, I had a couple of slips which my knees took the full brunt of – and it hurt. Both times were on a steep section and I just about topple over which would have had me bouncing down the hill with a 17kg counterweight!
After about 7km, the trail merged with a forestry track which was still muddy but at least a bit wider and less grades. This only lasted 5km before it was back onto the bush trail and up to the summit. 2.4km of the steepest ascent yet. It broke me. But reaching the top of Mt Taumatamahope, was satisfying. I had reception here, so managed a quick call to Mum, who was heading to he airport to pick up Beck and the kids.
I eventually set out after refuelling, knowing the next 2.4kms would also be hard work – as I found going down harder than going up on my already damaged knees.
It took me 2 hours to get down and out of the forest! It was slow going and by now both knees had locked up and were sore to bend and put weight on. After a precarious rope abseil down the last hill, I mad it to the end and out to the “Tramp Inn”. This hut is an awesome rustic hut put together by a young farming family and runs on koha (a donation).
I tucked into dinner after washing my muddy shoes and as I type this blog a possum is trying to break in to the room. As I am the only one in the hut (other than the possum) I chose the separate room to sleep in. My friend Taito, lost his green tea to the possum the other night, so I have been smart and locked him out 🙂
So what next for me and my dodgy knees? I think I will wake in the morning and see what damage I have done, then make a decision from there. There are two more forests immediately ahead, and the word is the next, Ratea, is worse than Herekino!
Statistics for today;
- Distance: 22km, 123/3,000km
- Breakfast – oats
- Lunch – cliff bar
- Dinner – 2x noodles
- Snacks – orange + nuts