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Russell Forest

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!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Norm #

    Mr Kenyon

    What a fortunate man you are, and long may it continue. It would appear to support my long held belief that people in general in NZ are, by and large, very nice people (of course that doesn’t go for everyone, there are always exceptions to be found). Personally I think it has a lot to do with the fact that people still live in rural communities much more so than here in Oz, and the sense of competition and one upmanship isn’t as all pervasive as it is in big cities. Whatever the reason I’m very pleased that you seem to be finding the right people at the right time.

    Sorry to hear that the feet are, or were, playing up a bit, but is that more so on road walking than tracks, do you think? Too uniform a stride and consistantly landing on the same spot? I trust that all will be well when you get back into the bush.

    How are you sleeping out there? Do you find yourself waking up at odd hours, hearing sounds that you are unsure of……..like possums, rabbits ect? Or do you sleep the sleep of the eternally knackered?

    How are you doing as far as your planned schedule goes?

    Did you know that the Te Araroa trail officially opens on December 3rd with an official launch and stuff to be held in Wellington on the day? Just thought I’d mention it in case you wanted to put in a bit of a spurt to make it to the celebrations on time………?

    Take care and stay in touch.

    All the best

    Norm and LQ

    Saturday 19 November, 2011
    • Hi Norm, Just thought I’d save you the wait as I know Kenyon will be away for a few days now. He is sleeping really well and has planned on hiking shorter days up until Auckland. From Auckland onwards I’m hoping things should be back to “normal” for him. Knowing Ken, he’ll catch up a little here and there, so with time, say Dec 10, he should be back on schedule.

      That’s interesting about the opening of the trail. By the sounds of it Ken is doing quite a bit of “official opening up” of the trail himself – here and there.

      Saturday 19 November, 2011
  2. John Phillips #

    Hospitality when you really need it is a joy. One of the best times in life. It stands in contrast to the times of slogging on alone through rough or tiresome terrain. Somehow the work you put in prepares you to really appreciate the kindness of others. Then you have to leave and press on with your journey.
    We plan to be in NZ in late January and February. Where do you plan to be by then?
    We have a house exchange in Golden Bay area from Feb 6 to 18 and then we tour a bit in the south island and return to the north island in late Feb.
    Then we plan to go to Sydney for a week or so. Still planning it out.
    We would love to see you in NZ and Gordon and Frith and your parents of course in Sydney

    Saturday 19 November, 2011
    • Hi John, Wow that’s such great news! I’m sure Ken will be able to catch up with you. Ken should be a third of the way down the south island around 6th February. I’ll be back in Sydney by that stage. I’d love to meet up with all of you. I’ll pass the news onto my parents. We can then start to plan ahead. I’ll keep you updated with future dates etc.

      Saturday 19 November, 2011
    • Pammy #

      Can’t tell you how much we enjoy seeing your comments on Ken’s blog John and Pip. Dave and I hope we can extend the hospitality Ken found in NZ when you arrive Downunder. We have no doubt you’ll enjoy your trip to NZ. It feels to me like a country that has been exteriorly decorated with exactly the right amount of sheep dotted about the countryside.

      Thursday 24 November, 2011

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