All packed and ready for the hike out of Paihia – and by 11:15am I had reached Opua. I had to take the road way round because the tide was in. I caught the short ferry ride from Opua to Okiato. It only took a few minutes to get across to the other side. Jo was the skipper. She was very interested in the hike I was on and she was also looking forward to her own hike of the Appalachian Trail in the US. She invited me up to the wheelhouse and tuned into the weather channel to see what I was in for in the upcoming days. She wrote down the forecast and then read it to me which I thought was very thoughtful of her. Hmmm, rain was coming my way but for the rest of the day I’d be alright.
The road walk to the Russell Forest Walkway was long and my right heel was hurting so overall I didn’t enjoy this section much. It seemed to go on and on. There was no water to be seen all day apart from the salt water in the estuary. I conserved water and felt quite dehydrated later on in the day.
A lady drove by and I flagged her down. I asked if she knew where I could get some water to drink. She said I could fill up at her house just down the road. She then hurried off to pick up her boys from school and said that her boys nanny would make a tea for me as well. How generous of her and how lucky was I? I enjoyed the short rest and felt some relief to know that I now had enough water to see me through to lunch time tomorrow.
It was another 10km walk to the Russell Forest Walkway (track) and there was nowhere to camp on the long uphill gravel road leading to it so it was just a matter of pressing on. It was getting dark and when I reached the track I managed to find a small clearing on the right about 60 meters from the road. After pitching the tent and cooking dinner I climbed into my sleeping bag and down came the rain. It was my lucky day!
A reminder to all who enter New Zealand’s Forests. Deerstalkers about!