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Lacking Orange

Before setting out I enjoyed the morning light
as it dried out my clothes from yesterday.
So peaceful out here. I was actually thinking where are all the other millions of people in the world? Why are they not here to enjoy this too? A couple of hours later my question would be firmly answered as I felt like throwing in the towel once I was deep into the Raetea Forest. The hike out of Takahue was pleasant enough as the gravel road gradually took me higher and higher.

Closing in on the Raetea Forest the track became quite steep and the mud just got deeper and deeper. From the trail notes I knew that the orange markers on this section of trail are not to be relied on. GPS is recommended and I had it turned on. Little did I know how tough, overgrown and unpleasant this trail would become. Orange markers were placed where the trail was obvious. Seconds later the trail would just vanish into thick tangled vines countless times over, with not an orange marker in sight.

Perhaps I lost the trail up to 30 times over on this 10km forest section. Each time this would cost me anywhere up to 10 minutes to find the way again. I expected all of this but not to this extent. I could easily have done with another two litres of water on top of the four that I set off with (no water at all on the ridge as mentioned in the trail notes).

Towards the east end of this trail, heading for SH1, the orange markers became less frequent and pink spray paint dots took their place. This was quite confusing to begin with but was nice to have pink dots than nothing at all. At first I thought the pink dots identified poison traps as it’s often the colour used for such trapping.

Definitely not an enjoyable day and don’t recommend it to anyone until the trail gets marked up correctly! With light fading, several kilometres to go and nowhere at all to pitch a tent I felt the pressure. As bright as my headlamp is – I would not like to find my way through this forest with it after sundown. It’s an incredibly dense forest and the vines love grappling with backpacks. Crawling was sometimes a way out. I was totally spent by the end of it. Nice to be out of there which is a first for me as I’ve always relished rainforest trails.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Phillips #

    Hi Kenyon. I feel for you in that rain forest. Especially on your own. I know what it is like from BC west coast but have never been in it like that, It looks impenetrable. I hope you do not have a lot more of that – especially with poorly marked trails. Hang in there. The first part is always the worst until you get into the routine of being out there and have some good progress. We are with you on this journey.

    Thursday 3 November, 2011
    • Hi John, impenetrable is the word! Apologies for my late response. I haven’t had much time at all to spend on the blog but when I do log on, the feeling of being alone immediately evaporates. Your thoughts and support are of great value to me. I’m now nearing the end of my traverse and with your words in mind, and looking back to the difficulties I had right at the start, I get a feeling you’ve been in a similar position in life before? Many thanks!

      Saturday 31 March, 2012
      • John Phillips #

        Hi Ken This blog seems from an earlier time near the start of your odyssey. But I will take the opportunity to comment. You are in very different terrain now and it is much cooler I am sure. I hope it is progressing as you you expect. Are you you coming out of the mountains now?
        I expect Gordon will be joining you soon for part of the ‘last quarter’. By now you are well seasoned and there should not be too many surprises except the weather which is always an unknown. We have had wind storms and much rain here in Lions Bay. Best wishes for the next stretch. John

        Sunday 1 April, 2012
  2. Hey Ken, I’m right here with John too! The first part is definitely the toughest. Do whatever it takes to push through to the more enjoyable parts of your traverse. Hopefully you’ve managed to get some fresh food here and there? Perhaps I can locate a café along the way that can serve you up a big breakfast with the works? Picture a lightly toasted BIG bagel, scrambled eggs on top with freshly cooked Roma tomatoes with some crissspy strips of bacon on the side? . . . Hey . . . I’m onto it!

    Friday 4 November, 2011
  3. Norm #

    Hey Gordon………..can you order one for me too…….have to be take away though…….Oh and can I have a flat white to go with the brekkie too……..?

    My Kenyon I would also like to echo the sentiments your brother offers………push through the pain/despair barrier, for whilst at the time it seems to last forever, in reality it doesn’t and the rewards shall be yours to cherish for all time.

    Once you’ve established you’re own routine and walking pattern with which you are comfortable, and the competition has stabilised between where you think you should be and where you actually are, then your’ll really feel at one with yourself and your environment.

    In the meantime think of the awaiting breakfast and enjoy the fact that you are where we (sorry if I speak for all) would very much like to be.

    Happy tramping.

    Norm and LQ

    Saturday 5 November, 2011
    • Norm! Your first, second, third and fourth paragraphs say it all very nicely. A flat white for LQ2? . . . onto it!

      Sunday 6 November, 2011

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