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26/12/2004



In the morning Keith drove me around for a while. I had not been to Kerikeri for 25 years and it was interesting to see all that had changed and grown. In desperation I purchased jandals from the warehouse to walk in today to allow my heels a chance to recover. About 11.00am Linda took me to recover my parcel from the B & B and to the local chemist to get some advice on dressing my heels. He said that it was good that they were clean wounds at least but was concerned at the size of them. Found some huge elastoplast dressings which will be good I hope.

Firstly packed my gear and left Penzance (Tony's house) after expressing my gratitude again, saying goodbyes and signing the visitors book.

Heading out down the main street I couldn't resist the pull of McDonalds and headed in for a quick meal. The walk out of town was unremarkable; I really dislike walking on sealed surfaces. When I got to the bridge across the first arm of the Kerikeri inlet I stopped for a while to talk to a family that were fishing there. Uncle seemed to be doing best with quite a haul in his bucket. Very shortly after I turned into the Waitangi Forest a special part of the trip as it was the first linking track of Te Aroroa to be opened. I was looking forward to taking a photo of myself beside the cairn I would find near the other end marking the opening and figured it may be a good place to call Geoff Chapple from.

I moved slowly along the forestry roads that at times were very heavily shingled with large, angular chips of rock. Every hour I stopped for a long break in an effort to be nice to my feet.

When I arrived at the cairn I found it vandalised. The plaque had been stolen and the cairn itself broken at about knee height and was now toppled over facing away from the road. A special Te Araroa curse seems appropriate for the culprits. "May every step of your journey be plagued by blisters."

I rang to let Geoff and Miriam know - they did not seem as shattered about this as I thought they may have been. I hope it gets repaired ok. As I continued on down Waitangi my feet were increasingly sore even when I went barefoot on the grass - not a good sign. The grounds at Waitangi were deserted at 7.00pm as I stood photographing the marae. As I had walked down I had planned on getting a photo of me looking out from behind the flag pole which wouldn't have really hidden me properly because flag poles are not that big around. I thought it would be captioned something like "by the time I finish this walk you won't be able to see me here unless I am peeking". Imagine my dismay when I got to Waitangi and realised that this was no ordinary flagpole, the base is a huge metal fitting with metal buttresses coming off it in four directions. I could have hidden a sumo wrestler behind it. No funny photos today then.

With desperately miserable soles on my feet I started off for Paihia - just 2kms to go. Over the bridge from Waitangi I passed the Sugar Boat and recalled visiting as a child when Kelly Tarlton's recovered treasure was displayed there. I also remembered a big robbery some years back which I don‚t believe they ever solved.

A gentle rain accompanied me for this final 2km to my destination, Marie Sadlers' B & B in Williams Road. By the time I arrived my feet were too sore to go out again for dinner so it was a soak in the bath, then an early night.

 
 
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