Day 23 – km 496 to Puhoi

November 10, 2016

km traveled today: 33

total TA km: 529

We tried to sleep as best we could after the news broke about our president elect was deemed a sure thing. At 6am we rose and in the already hot, muggy air we ate breakfast and took down the tents. By 7, we we already well on our way up Dome.

We summitted before 8 after a semi slippery climb up, battling the humidity the whole way up. Drenched in sweat and trying to get by with the little water we had leftover from last night’s dinner, we dropped our packs at the trig at the summit. 

Hungry and thirsty we tore open the fresh new box of “Weet-Bix”. The breakfast cereal was amazing. Not because it was good, but because it was so bleh. It had no taste and instantly made us need water to swallow it. We choked down six a piece of the little rectangular bars of Weet-Bix and kept going.

A kilometer later we arrived at the Dome cafe where we got some hearty breakfast food. At the cafe we sat and ate silently as Jasper read solemly about Trump’s election. After the hour break we continued on. We turned up the gravel road in the 70 degree weather with the beating sun and the humidity making us sweat more and more.

A little before 1 we inhaled our lunch, and marched on towards Puhoi. The gravel track turned uphill and we climbed on. Because of the logging practices in New Zealand, where they take down a whole section of forest, all pine, every thirty years, it afforded us some amazing views as we climbed on. At the peak of the 300 something meter Moirs Hill we climbed, we spotted Auckland in the distance.

We turned off the gravel road and onto the Puhoi Pakiri track for the last 9.5km of the day. We flew through them, walking along a ridge line in cow pasture for the first couple kilometers. 

As we were about to climb the stiles out of the cow pasture these huge Bulls stood in our way. With our poles in hand we bravely walked around them. I don’t think they even looked at us. We climbed the stile and skirted the fences line to the electric fence we had to climb over. Jack touched the fence, plucking it like a guitar string, deemed that it was not on. Nonchalantly he put his arm through to pull the wire over his head and immediately was shocked. He jumped back and immediately started complaining about how the left side of his body was tingly and hurt. We told him that he should suck it up.

The last five km’s of our day was a “river walk.” The only river part about the walk was how we crossed a stream on a suspension bridge at the beginning. The trail started climbing immediately taking us onto the top of a good sized ridge. Being dehydrated, tired, and hungry we stopped for the always needed gummy break, refueled and headed on. A little before 4:45pm we started the descent from the ridge. On the way down we found a film crew, cameras and everything, headed up the hill to film a horror short.

We arrived in Puhoi tired and hungry. Immediately we walked across the street to the Pub and ate dinner. We each got ourselves massive burgers, with so much on them we could barely put them in our mouths. We befriended the bartender Michal, and the local kiwis in the pub and tried to get them to tell us where we could free camp in Puhoi. The night began to wind down after a free cider pitcher from Michal, and a nice plate of Puhoi pub nachos.  

Gerd, a nice German fellow, told us we could just cross the street and sleep in the tennis court area grass.

After talking our new Puhoi local friends for a while about where to go in the south island, where to buy oysters, living in Puhoi, and the Allman Brothers, we crossed the street and walked up to the tennis court club house, climbed the stairs and onto the covered deck (thanks to a nice local for the sweet idea). We laid out our thermarests and sleeping bags, set a five thirty alarm so that we could get to the kayak place in the morning and immediately passed out.



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