Start: Kerikeri (219km)
Finish: Whangaruru South (281km)
Distance for the day: (62km)
Cumulative distance: (281km)
Cumulative moving time:
Today’s outing was a perfect illustration of why this is such an appealing route to be taking on. It started with a gentle few kilometres down the Kerikeri River Track, sharing early morning pleasantries with local joggers, and ended with another wild traverse of thick, jungle-like, forest, including a 5km upstream wade along the Russell Forest Track. In between I experienced a bit of everything, including a coastal section around the famous Bay of Islands (mixing it with the tourists, but resisting the ice cream stands) and a 11km kayak section up the Waikare Inlet.
|"An army can't march on an empty stomach"|
The split of 29km run / 11km kayak / 21km run broke the day up very nicely, indeed I some how managed to end the day feeling quite sprightly for the first time. It may well have been down to nutrition, with the day including my first trip to a grocery store (on route) to do a serious raid for instant energy food. I wolfed the strawberry milk, chocolate, large crisps and bottle of lemonade without it even touching the sides but I was well fuelled for the rest of the day. It just goes to show how much energy the body burns with a physical challenge like this – I never normally eat that sort of stuff! I don’t think its realistically possible to take on enough calories to replace all those that are lost, but efforts like that (now and again) should certainly help…..
The paddle up the Waikare Inlet with Mark was magical. Despite us pushing against an outgoing tide and a stiff easterly wind we made good progress and had the bulk of the journey done in close to 2 hours, but then came the muddy mangrove swamps, and the challenge of navigating up the narrow channels at low tide. Thankfully the GPS took us to exactly the right get out point - opposite the trail head - and in 5 minutes I was back running again.
|Run to kayak transition!|
|Heading into the narrow channel at the head of the inlet|
The Te Araora organisers list these ‘crossings’ as optional, with ferry alternatives offered. My approach to the whole expedition is to keep it pure, and for that reason I will not be moving in motorised transport for the whole trip, whether it’s a ferry or whatever. I sincerely hope I can remain true to that. The only issue it presents is that if we’re overnighting at a campsite (essential every few days to recharge all the kit), then I need to hop on the bike to get to/ from the trail. That was the case tonight – and in the morning I shall hop back on the bike to re-start in exactly the place I finished off tonight.
So progress remains good and, most importantly, spirits remain high. My body seems to be responding well to the task in hand and it’s comforting to have some more sensible sections ahead. The first three days were totally epic!