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Leaving Opotiki

When travelling in Europe, there was often an architectural destination to flavour my itinerary.

Here in New Zealand, that has been supplanted by more modest architecture: another DOC hut.

My information gathering continues for future documentation for my tramping website. it’s easy enough to get around a few close-to-the-road huts.

I visited a few new huts today. Holdsworth Lodge in the Tararuas, Konini Lodge, Manganui Lodge, Waingongoro Hut, The Camp House, Maketawa Hut on Mt Taranaki, Peach Cove Hut on Bream Head outside for Whangarei.

After Opotiki, it looked as if Kotepatu Hut would give a brief taste of Urewera.

To be honest, some of these destinations were testing my Achilles tendon with overgrown, steep, greasy trails, probably not the best exercise on Week 16 or 17 since my injury. A slip, and I might be back to the start of my rehab.

Despite that, I found myself forwarding the knee-deep Waioeka River and zipping up a track alongside Te Pato Stream.

Just the two hours each way walking-wise.

Then, I spent more than two hours chatting to a stray possum trapper who returned to the hut after half an hour of my solitary occupation. He had a love of the country, a high level of fitness, and some opinions that were well suited to his solitary life.

I liked him and his nuttiness.

Later, I camped in a DOC campsite as a solitary occupant. Two locals in a large, huge 4×4 dropped by, and we spoke of the ridiculousness of Auckland and other topics of agreement.

A quiet night after their departure.

The following morning, I packed up a wet tent and a damp sleeping bag. At the top of the gorge, the thick cloud dissipated and it was full sun.

I spent some time wandering into the Gisborne Search and Rescue hut on the Matawai track. Another taste of North Island forest with many species not recognised by my South Island-trained brain.

author | GJ Coop | posted | 01 April 2024
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