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Cape Reinga to Bluff  
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24/12/2004 PM

Finally got started about 9.00am and nailed the navigation right off. I must remember in the future that I ignore the compass at my own risk!

After about an hour of untracked ridge, which was slow but steady going, I got onto a wide cut track which made travelling very much easier although arguably less rewarding. After a while I came to a clearing with a derelict hut the inside of which was adorned with graffiti. One piece read "Juzzy was here cutting your fellas track 2003" - thanks Juzzy I have appreciated it.

Got down to Makene Road just after 12.00 and stopped at the farmhouse to thank Harry Williams for allowing the track to cross his land. Harry was not home but his partner Yvonne fed me up on chocolate cake, provided fruit and water for my trip and dressings for my blisters, which are really quite bad now. Over the course of the hour I spent there we talked about school boards, Grandmothers, personal/family tragedies - all sorts, I was certainly made to feel right at home.

I got my first taste of walking on the main road soon after leaving Harry™≠s place but the though of getting a hamburger at Mangamuka Bridge made it almost tolerable. Unfortunately hamburgers are no longer on the menu. The guy from the service station, who had passed me earlier driving the local ambulance (and who took the piss out of my leki poles), told me to knock on the back door of the pub and ask for Martha who would probably make me a sandwich. I met Martha's husband Ken out the back installing some driving lights on his wagon. Ken works in the iron ore mines in Australia and had only returned the day before - with the driving lights as luggage. Ken pointed me in the right direction and soon I was being fussed over my Martha who warmed me up a meal of wild pork, kumara, cabbage etc and provided all I needed for a sandwich to take away with me as well. They wouldn't hear of accepting anything for it and wished me well for my journey.

At 4.00pm I left the wee township and headed for Omahatu Road, which would take me towards Kerikeri. This was a seldom used logging road that followed a high ridge through the Puketi Forest. I was pleased to see a couple of Eastern Rosellas in a pine plantation. They looked very handsome in their bright colours. Around 7.00pm I met a couple of Land Rovers coming towards me. The second one stopped and contained a couple of Taranaki lads who were staying in Kerikeri and kindly offered me a lift. So tempting.

Carried on until 10.30pm with a moon a couple days off full and a reasonably clear sky. Finally was too exhausted to continue but at least I could reach Kerikeri tomorrow from here. Pitched my tent on a large layby about 1km from the quarry. Slept soundly all night until the rain once again awoke me in the morning.

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