No sooner had we taken the first steps, Sam the Caretaker from yesterday pulled over to give us a lift up to the main road junction. Sam came into this world with nothing and said when he passes, he wants to buried standing upright and just a rock placed at the top as a headstone. No care taking for the Caretaker as he put it.
We continued with our noses pointed in the south direction by road. There is a lot of tar-seal as part of the TA and it can’t be helped. As more landowners give permission, more off road pathway will eventuate. That would be cool. With thumb stuck out in search of a hitch, a car passed us by full of kids and a shout, “Brent & Claire.” It was Jamie from Whangaruru School. We waved our sticks high in appreciation. It was a small gesture that lifted the corners of our mouths.
We had gone no more than a couple of hundred metres before a car pulled over in front. The two chaps that got out were ones we had interacted with separately also yesterday when we came out of the Russell Forest. A son and Dad, our back packs were bundled into the trunk for a lift to the Helena Bay turn of. A hongi farewell of appreciation. Passing other road walkers gave us the guilt’s however, hospitality eventuated because of our stopping to converse with these two locals.
We couldn’t believe our luck after a couple of kilometres of gravel walking. A ute and trailer that had passed us earlier came off a paddock to back up and asked if we wanted a lift to the start of the next bush walk. They were Apiarists and were attending to hives scattered across the landscape. There we sat on the trailer happily bumpily riding the incline on the narrow road till the sign for Moreport Track welcomed us. No bee stings from sharing the ride with hives neither!
Morepork when translated into Maori is ‘Ruru’ and is a type of New Zealand Owl so grins graced the dials as we entered onto the track. It kind of felt we were trekking a piece of ground close to the heart … well family name anyway. The track merged into Onekainga Track and incorporated some up and down steep ridgeline tramping. It had the perspiration doing overtime.
The last couple of kilometres by road were walked, no lifts at the tail end of the day, bugger! The long footbridge appearing through the mangroves crossing the river was fascinating and materialised more so as we reached Whananaki Campground. That was tomorrows adventure.
We were offered the Knackered Inn, a set of bunks in a hut for a couple of bucks extra and meant no pitching the tent again. As we groomed our way to climbing on, other walkers we had passed earlier in the day by car started arriving. Some of them looked like death warmed up. Most tried to put on a brave smile but you knew that they were hurting.
They had to set up their abode, groom and eat before they lay down weary bodies.
Stamina, persistence, resiliency. That’s what it took to climb onto the top bunk!