Morepork Track(189.1)-Nikau Bay Camp(210.4)
Campsite Elevation: 58ft/18m
I want to start off by addressing some of the comments and concerns in yesterday’s post. First, I’m sorry for the abrupt and poorly expressed response to everyone’s emails and messages concerning the earthquake. It was overwhelming on my end and I have been very open about my knee-jerk reactions to over stimulus when it comes to social dynamics. I was feeling quite a bit of overwhelming stress and anxiety when more than I could handle came through as I was also juggling the day to day stresses that come with the endurance of a thru-hike. My reaction was to simplify and attempt to shut down all the incoming stimulus. It came off ungrateful and terribly rude, and I sorry for that. Again, it is a knee-jerk reaction I had to something that was overwhelming. Not an excuse, but an explanation that I am human and I do have sensitivities to overwhelming social situations. The funny thing is that not a single family member contacted me and I feel like that is because they know me so well and knew that it would stress me to get so many inquiries. They knew I’d update them and keep them in the loop just like I will with everyone following the blog. Thank you all for your concerns and know that it is appreciated and I’m sorry for being so rude in response.
As for my comments on the priciness of this trip, I will work on my tact. It was terrible timing as it was written before the earthquake occurred and I can see how it would come off as terribly insensitive. I just posted as I normally would without realizing the context it was now in given such a terrible natural disaster that occurred after I’d written it. All of you that have followed me for awhile know that I tell it how it is. I don’t write this to please anyone, but to honestly present what happens on a thru-hike. I’m simply stating a fact that this hike is quite expensive, and I’d be remiss if I did not mention this huge factor in everyone’s thru-hike.
I’m sure there are many sitting at home who are first time readers thinking how I’m looking for a free ride and that I’m one of those spoiled American hikers that get by on trail magic and taking more than giving. Any insinuation that I’m not willing to give, does not know me and is quite misinformed. Know that I have great respect for the fact that New Zealand has a lot of private and sacred ground. Before my trip, I was sure to donate to the Te Araroa Trust in advance for all they have done to make this trail possible. I have also gone out of my way to obey camping restrictions on private or protected lands. That often means that the only option is a pay only campsite. I am completely following all the requests set forth in the trail notes given by the Te Araroa Trust. Due to private land and camping restrictions, I’ve paid for camping 6 out of the 12 nights I’ve been on the trail thus far. That is unexpected, and I am even paying it when there isn’t a person there to monitor it, but I do have a right to mention it as a factor in my thru-hike.
To be clear, everywhere I’ve camped so far is completely legal and within the restrictions set forth in the trail notes. Know that the notes make it clear where camping is not allowed and where it is. Some private land is noted as being a no camping area and some just ask that you camp respectfully, and obey leave no trace ethics. Camping is a serious discussion that we have each day and our schedule is greatly dictated on where camping is legal, so know that I am abiding by those restrictions. Again, those that have followed me for years know that obeying such restrictions are important to me, but there are many first time followers here that may not know this and may be making misinformed judgements.
In general, as a thru-hiker, camping has usually been free outside of national parks. It’s quite the adjustment for all of us out here to have needed to pay for 50% of the nights out here. I am completely within the right to mention it as a factor of this thru-hike. I’m very used to wilderness and camping away from civilization, which is a big reason why I thru-hike. I must warn others and be honest that this is not a wilderness thru-hike up north, but more of a bunch of day hikes carrying a pack from a Caravan Park to a town and then to another pay-only campsite. Quite a different and pricey experience from other thru hikes for sure, so I am going to mention this observation. It doesn’t make me cheap or say I’m looking for a free ride, but it is an observation from someone that has hiked over 11,000mi of thru hiking both within and outside the US. Some enjoy the facilities of a paid site, but other options for thru-hikers out here for solo time in the wilderness just don’t exist thus far. That’s been building over the last two weeks, so I mentioned it. Usually, it exists and I have options to walk through towns and skip civilization, so it isn’t a bother, but not here. I’m known for saying things how they are and that is why this blog has the following that it does. I don’t make it all out to be sun-shiny and roses. I tell it how it is and finances and repeated nights in civilization are a huge part of it. It doesn’t mean I’m not having fun and that I’m not appreciative of the trail itself. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t feel that the charges are justified. It just means exactly what I’m saying, which is that this is an expensive thru-hike that hasn’t been in as much wilderness as I prefer. Yes, going into communities and seeing all of NZ is part of it, but it’s a bit imbalanced for me so far. I’ll do better to mention it more tactfully in the future.
As for the comments about my focus on technology and wifi…um, did you not notice the big logo at the top of the blog that says Wired and has the plug trailing off the end? Yes, that is who I am and if that’s a turn-off for people, this is not the blog for you and you will not like my take on things. We are all different and experience nature in our own way. There is no need to judge it, and if it’s not your thing, you don’t have to follow. Yes, I keep it in perspective and those that follow know that it’s a fun bonus for me to be able to watch shows, Skype, and post to social media. Just this summer, I was on hikes where they were so remote that I’d go a week or more without connectivity and I can appreciate that as well. I’m not alone in this enjoyment of wifi, and it is a factor for many of us out here to now have such limited connectivity and wifi. Again, mentioning it as an aspect of this hike is factual. It doesn’t make me spoiled, petty, or unable to appreciate nature like everyone else. It’s just another factor to be mentioned that impacts this experience. Know, that overall, I am having lots of fun out here and am enjoying the hike!
Also, I want to thank all of you for your support both publicly and privately about some trolling comments, which have been removed. It is the internet and that unfortunately comes with the territory. Know that it isn’t anything I waste time or energy on and I hope you don’t either. Remember that I’m a substitute teacher that spent many many years in Chicago. I considered that my “West Point” experience in being hazed or trolled, and little can phase me when it comes to displaced anger spewing. I get trolled daily by angry teens needing to take out some anger, so it seriously isn’t something I absorb or that phases me. Thank you all for being there and sticking up for me! Knowing that 99% of your comments are positive and constructive is what I choose to focus on.
Ok, moving on to today. We got up at 6am to be able to make it to the town of Ngunguru. Last night, we realized that the route has been changed this year to now require a boat shuttle across a waterway. The placement of this shuttle that can only happen after 3pm each day meant we either did two short days or one big day. We got up early and left camp at 6am to try to make it in one day. The weather had possible rain in the forecast, and we weren’t sure how taxing the terrain would be, but we wanted to give it a shot. The morning started with finishing out the Morepork-Onekainga Track. It was pretty dark in the thick forest when we started out and there were many small stream crossings, but we managed to keep our feet dry.
Felix took the lead and blazed on ahead. Then the trail turned into an awesome spacious downhill and we all were cruising and enjoying the sudden change. Then we saw Felix coming towards us up the hill. He had checked his GPS at the bottom and we were off the track! Fortunately, we hadn’t gone down far and we went back. Somehow we all stepped right over the obvious arrows telling us to turn, ha!
Then we were back on the brushy, muddy track we should have expected.
Much of today was enjoyable walking along weaving roads of farmland and cows right along the ocean along the Whananaki Coastal Track. I loved the green hills, weaving path, and ocean views. It was a great combination of relaxed hiking while it misted rain on and off.
We entered the town of Matapouri and ate lunch at a picnic table under a protected area in front of the General Store. Other hikers arrived and it was like a reunion with some as we have now caught up to those that chose to skip the last two forests.
The last part of the day had us going through the Matapouri Bush Track, which was just as dense as previous tracks, but quite well maintained with steps built into the trail, which we all greatly appreciated as the rain came down harder.
It was so humid, and the dense forest was catching so much of the rain, that I happily hiked without my rain jacket. We got to town at 3:30pm. Plenty of time to do our supplemental resupply. It was really pricey ($5US/$7NZ for a packet 10 of small sized soft tortillas), and we were all glad that we bought extra last leg and only needed to add a few things. I had lost my sunglasses today, and all they had were cheap ones that hurt for $43NZ/$32US. It’s just a short section to the next town, so I’m waiting to look there for something more affordable. We chipped in together to buy pasta, sauce, and chicken to make at the campsite kitchen where we were headed.
At 5pm, James who does the short boat shuttle and runs the Nikau Bay Camp picked us up. He works full time during the day, then shuttles and hosts hikers ($10NZ/$7.50US shuttle, $15NZ/$11US tenting, $20NZ/$15 inside, full kitchen, showers, no wifi,) at night.
He’s a really awesome and accommodating host and had 12 hikers and 3 others tonight. Last year, the TA followed a busy paved road for 16km around this inlet and James approached the TA Trust about moving the route to go through his place. It helps the TA with their goal of getting the track off paved roads as much as possible. By the time we got settled, made and ate dinner, and took showers, I was ready to retire for the night. Becky and I got a cabin room and it’s great to hear the rain coming down once again while I’m inside. Great timing!
Will is sleeping in the main house, and half the other hikers are camped. Felix had to hitch to a nearby town where he sent a box and is probably taking a zero tomorrow while we do late start. We are in a bit of a bubble and will leave after a very relaxed morning tomorrow (it’s been two big days), so we will see them down trail. Another unique day that only happens on the TA. I do miss hiking days at a time in wilderness, and the relaxation that comes from extended time outside of civilization, but given that this is the nature of the TA, I’m adjusting and it’s been interesting to experience a bit of a different kind of “hike.” Whew, that was a long post!
Long post but well said.
For me ,being the relatively social person that I am , I’m loving that you are hiking along with a crowd ! It sounds such fun , and it must be wonderful to be able to make shared decisions as well as discuss life in general . Good on Felix for pointing you in the right direction -I love that photo of you all walking down the road -that’s a keeper and needs to be framed ! As for your other points -good on you for being honest -you’re the one doing the trail , so only you know how things are are. Have a fun day ! I’m loving this adventure .
Very factual post “wired” You are doing a great job “telling it like it is” It is fun to hear how you handle this MUCH different hiking experience. Very helpful for others that might be considering the hikes you are taking – better to be informed then to go in blind. Keep the posts coming and the great pictures too – they are much appreciated.
Hike on, Wired.
I almost went off on a rant but no bother. I enjoy your blog and all your detailed info about stuff I will probably never do. And if I was there hiking with you, you would definetly ditch me from all my complaining about the prices. $7 for 20 tortias!!!#*?? To each his own, hike your own hike, write your own write, live your own life, and don’t change a thing. Thank you Wired, Stay Stoked!!
No Need To Reply (NNTR)
Yes, very well said. The honesty is especially important for new trails. I found your blog when I was looking for information on the Great Divide Trail, I learned that parts of that trail are beyond my skill set. Without that information I would have run into trouble. So please continue.
Wire, write what you feel. You always due the best you can.
We love and learn from your blog Your time to write is limited.
Keep writing my friend and enjoy.
I must say I’m sorry, I don’t make time to read your posts much. I should, because they are informative, unbelieveably well -written, quirky, funny and downright beautiful, but alas, the world of time evades us all sometimes. Mostly I just joyfully revel in where the world Erin Saver is from time to time, day dreaming of you plugging along softly in some ancient forest and putting smiles on peoples faces when you breeze through town to show them just how no bullshit a person can be. I have told more than a lot of people about you, Erin. And today, reading your post, I am here to remind you that your blog started in a place of honesty, a place of personal goals and celebrations of the goals of others. That’s it. And damn straight if that isn’t where you still are. I’m proud of you for walking 11,000 miles and leaving one foot grounded back in the beginning.
Hi Breana:) !
Hi Erin! 🙂 hug new zealand for me, they need it.
Go Wired Go! 🙂
Point of clarification, Wired – when you say that something cost $x, is that US$ or NZ$? Just interested…
Yep, just clarified it and edited it to include both.
When I travel abroad I’m always struck by how inexpensive life in the US is compared to other developed countries. Also, I’ve seen how fortunate we are to have vast swathes of public land and undeveloped wilderness.
I’m glad you are enjoying your current adventure, as different as it is from the many trails you’ve wandered. Keep on trekkin’!
Quick question, are your prices USD or NZD?
Good question. I just edited it to include both.
Well, I’m English, so I’m already more than well aware that both Australians and New Zealanders can get very tetchy very quickly! But individually they are in fact nearly all fine people, and even more so in person, rather perhaps than online, like most of us..
Good point about the $, which ones are they? You could give prices in £, or perhaps in guineas Erin, so as to avoid any confusion. To help you, $1US is 1.42 New Zealand dollars, or 1.34 Australian dollars 🙂
I am enjoying the walk a great deal, but how you cope with all this, as well as the actual walking, is a mystery to me .. I go walking specifically to get away from all this!
At least a fine walk puts everything else into perspective…
Yep, good point. I just edited it to be in both NZ and US dollars.
Whow cannot believe you had to justify yourself like that while on a thru hike. Wired is giving a lot on her blog…a gold mine of information and it is Free…Free entertainment that is why i keep coming back reading and following Wired adventures.
I am sure you will have tons of positive backup from your readers. Please stay what you are and keep describe things the way you are doing. Your experience and feedback will be definitely representation of a thru hike experience in 2016…with all pro and cons or way you are living it/describing it.
I also do understand some readers feedbacks…i am sure you will try your best to respect private properties but you will come up some day with no other choice than going over a fence and pitch your tent…that is what the TA is…
Afterward may be as a public speaker there are things that cannot be said out loud…politically correct
This is a mark of success..your blog getting too popular and know you have to may be not mention some things which are real…i hiked myself the TA and really enjoying reading your feedback…tx for taking me a second time on the TA…your description is very accurate and honest
Just hope that you will never do a Carrot Quinn. Remove delete your posts from your blog to publish a book
Hike on and NNTR (no need to reply) keep your energy to enjoy more yourself and other hikers around you..you are giving your readers already some MUCH. Thank you
Those above me said it all!
I am off soon to drive a cancer patient, work out, practice Christmas songs (group of us going to assisted living facilities to sing starting next week.
Busy, but reading your blog takes my mind far away and I love it.
I appreciate your honesty in this blog. I think it’s helpful to people planning to do this hike to know about the unexpected expenses. Also, I admire how you juggle posting the blog, watching shows, skyping and everything else. It’s a little beyond me and I’m hoping to learn from you. I thoroughly enjoy every post and I’m looking forward to when you get to the parts of New Zealand that I have been to.
BTW, I have also missed obvious arrows in the trail!
My my! Let’s hope your eloquent apology shut down the mudslingers. One of the many things I really love about you is you are REAL! You tell it like it is. It’s a breath of fresh air. Bless you. Keep being you! Hike on!!!
Hi Wired You are in the most populated part of NZ. When you get to the Tararua ranges Richmond Ranges and do the Nelson Lakes section you will be in the wilderness you love. you will be well away from civilization. Guess you have also figured out that small supply stores – we call them dairies are expensive. They don’t have the buying power of the supermarkets and are run by owner operator’s often in remote places. Many struggle to stay open and in some cases the extra business TA walkers has brought has made the difference! Thanks to all the TA walkers who are helping these businesses (and community lifelines) stay open. ??When you get to larger towns and cities you will find supermarkets easier on the wallet. When you get closer to Wellington I will give you my details and you can stay with us for free. We live 30 minutes north very close to the trailer. We have kayaks if you want to take a zero and paddle in the inlet. Enjoying your blog and wishing I was on the trail or any trail!!
Yes it will be nice once things spread out if I don’t get too pampered by all these towns now. The food carries are practically nothing and I’m glad I chose not to ship boxes of resupplies. Thank you for the Wellington offer, but I have a friend that lives there. I’ll reach out if that falls through.
Not that it matters but I don’t think it was odd or disrespectful to NZ or the trail to mention all the costs, it’s very helpful for anyone planning to do this trail. You would know best what is pricey and what isn’t, so just a word of support to keep doing what you’re doing! We were all worried about you after the earthquake! You’re got a lot of people pulling for you, not everyone comments. Keep going and block the trolls. 🙂
Great post as usual. I can’t believe people say you are not giving. You totally give yourself and spend hours sharing your experiences. You are great and don’t change one thing. You are an example to many.
I haven’t been reading the comments so I didn’t know about the haters. I am sorry. Some folks just can’t let others be, eh? Thanks for your strong and clear response. I think your are just fine the way you are.
there is no need to apologise for anything.
It is wonderful to see the overwhelming support you are getting and that those rude parochialists have slunk away.
It seems to me though that one could ask “When is a trail not a trail”? And the answer surely is the TA in northern NZ! Up there, to call it a trail is a misnomer and misleading when a huge amount is on roads. Perhaps the TA governing body should do something about this,and if necessary work to obtain rights of way over private land.
I know they are doing their best to improve the “trail” and get it off roads. I think many don’t research it enough to realize how much really is on highway roads. Just in the last few days I’ve lost count of how many people offered us rides unsolicited. I can see how that can be tough for some to turn down.
Well said Erin, though I don’t reckon you needed to justify your observations on camp fees to those who were critical. Reading your blogs is great, very informative and descriptive. As Barrie raised, there does seem to be a lot of road walking on the TA. Good for you for just cruising through it, reckon I’d be moaning about it!!
Your blog these many months has been fascinating to read in large part because it is so personal, subjective and expresses some of your intimate emotions as you continually encounter the many difficulties and pleasures of thru-hiking over wildly varying terrain and entering small towns while at the same time staying connected with your family (kangaroos for the nephews!). Your vivid photos and the internet connection verify what you are writing. All the more valuable and informative, even precious for your articulate impressions and stories, your richly detailed work is classic autobiography and adventure writing and publishing updated for the web. You always get me to think (as I comfortably sit at my computer) is this something I could ever do? It has been simply fabulous to have an adventurer as you are reliably deliver her incredible ongoing stories to anyone with a web connection.
Folks have already said it all! You are real, thorough, honest, observant, often funny–an authentic woman and thru-hiker. You are providing a window into thru-hiking for some of us who never hike the TA. And you are providing valuable info for those who will. Please don’t edit or change your style. Just keep being your wonderful, unique self.
Erin, great post. Informative and thoughtful.
Keep on havin’ a great time! And hope you get some wilderness soon too.
I’ve been getting caught up on your recent journey.
Just remember: “No Excuses, No Apologies, No Regrets”
You don’t have to justify anything to anyone since you are true to yourself.
Ultimately, It’s the readers responsibility to understand the perspective of the writer because you can’t possibly know all the different readers’ perspectives. Some readers might have walked the Camino to which the TA would feel truly wild and relatively inexpensive. Other readers might have hiked hike the Great Divide and this would feel like a group road march and rarely disconnected from civilization.
If some people don’t appreciate what you have to say or don’t agree with your personal philosophies they can get a full refund.
There are a lot of blogs and and I’m sure they can find something more in line with their ideas.
Personally, I enjoy reading multiple blogs covering the same info (trails) because it’s so interesting how different people’s perspective and circumstances are. Even just a slight difference in weather can completely change people’s opinion of the best/worst sections of trail.
Sing it, sister! So happy you are confident in yourself and act accordingly 🙂
Just going thru my inbox catching up on your adventures. I always enjoy reading them even though I can’t always stay current. Your honestly and perspective are always refreshing.