Without risking further damage to the feet, we made the decision not to walk the Northern Forests – Herekino, Takahue, Reatea, Omahuta/ Puketi and took a bus to Kerikeri.

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There is always apprehension with decisions like this.  It’s not in tune with our ‘keep going, never give up attitude’ however, we know when we have bitten off more than we can chew to stretch the rubber band.  This is up there.  Biking is by far a heap easier.

Getting off the bus, we be-friended a fellow TA walker Steve who had made the same decision.  We ended up sitting at a Café for three hours just talking about stuff.  Steve quit the rat race in Australia and returned home to New Zealand.  Walking the TA is his way to defrag, find himself and put perspective into life as he knows it.  He was refreshing and enlightening and certainly affirmed our decision to taking the bus to enjoy the experience versus let it destroy us.

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If the conversation wasn’t enough, Steve losing five toe nails along Ninety Mile Beach did it!

The scales registered 6.5 kilograms.  Deduct the newly arrived tent pack weight and the total weight shed was just over 4 kgs.  It doesn’t read a lot but less carried weight is a good friend when you are a trekker.

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Pitching our new abode at the Kerikeri Holiday Park, Karen wandered over to introduce herself and offered us a welcoming cup of tea.  It was just the bee’s knees.  We ended up chatting with her, her daughter Anna and Karen’s sister.  Karen and Anna had taken the year off to walk the TA in sections and had just completed the Northern Forest section.

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But there was a far more closeness with this encounter as we talked.  During a night stay in a hut on top of the Tararua’s during February, they were the only one’s occupying the hut.  At 10pm, in entered another walker doing the TA in reverse.  It was the same Mike that we met on Stewart Island New Year’s Eve who questioned us as to why we weren’t walking our own country first instead of the Appalachia Trail as was planned.

Here we are!

We may have missed seeing the largest living Kauri trees in New Zealand which stand in excess of 50 metres by missing the forests.   The conversations shared with the people we meet this day made up for that ten-fold.  Full credit to Karen, Anna and others who have walked it.

We’ll leave joining that dot for another time.