Te Kuiti 872km to Taumaranui 1032km (day 54-59)
We are much more comfortable making this trail work for us, so decided to avoid a knarley and then long roadwalk section out of Te Kuiti, and got a ride directly to the start of the Timber Trail, in Pureroa Forest. Val was our driver, and she was a local, and knew every inch of the countryside and all its history. Between coal and logging it was a thriving community which now feels empty and jaded. Rolling green farmland in all directions.
The Timber Trail was awesome! Even though we had ridden it a couple of years ago, it was quite a different experience to take four days at walking pace. The first section in particular is impressive. Virgin forest, screeching kaka, swooping kereru, lush greens and sparkling clear streams. And a lovely track to make the walking a pleasure.
We did get drenched the first day though, the heavens threatened all day, and then opened when we were about 2hrs out from the hut. The Bog Inn hut was our intended destination, but as it was only a four bunk hut, we weren’t confident of our chances of a dry bed. Imagine our delight, after 45min through dripping forest we found it empty! Very rustic, but dry. Pete even got a fire going for a bit. Positively luxurious.
The next day was fine and warm, perfect walking weather. Plus we had beer and pizza to look forward to. And, a campground with hot showers! Camp Epic was exactly that. Gorgeous spot on a plateau surrounded by bush. We sat around a fire pit as darkness fell. Magic.
The second part of the trail was on the old logging trail, so the forest was less dense, but massive swingbridges, impressive cuttings, and historic logging details made up for that change. Cute campsite, fetching water from a stream, gorgeous sunlight. Really great time. We crossed the 1000km mark, the sun shone, we got a lift into town, and a bed for the night. Life, and the TA is wonderful.