Day 21- Kiwis and Ginger Beer

Today -27.9km From Pakiri to Dome Valley

Total 496.4km

Today was a big one! Not necessarily in terms of kms but climbed over 1400m in elevation and lost 1200, bear in mind that’s with full packs too.

Body is definately strong but it’s the slippery muddy downhills and tree roots and huge step downs that can really get you if your not careful.

Last night at the holiday park there was loads of TA walkers chilling out and I got to meet some fellow kiwis, Emily and Glen, who were really awesome and kindly shared some Sprite with me. Thanks! It was cool having a chat to them as I havent met many kiwis yet.

It was a day of kiwis! Met another kiwi Emily at the Tamahunga Summit, and a Northbound couple of kiwis from Christchurch who had started in Wellington and were heading up to the Cape.

Everyone looking to do the 26km into Dome Valley left pretty early this morn. Sarah and I & Jasper and Marte left around 630ish along with some other familiar faces.

Today was mostly tramping tracks which was sweet, and boy were they classic NZ workout tracks.

My favourite is when you’re standing up a ridge or close to a summit you’re reaching and you see your next goal [ridge or summit peak] and then your eyes kind of realise to get there you have to go alllll the way down then back up again. All part of the fun!

The legs definitely got a workout today. The Mt Tamahunga track was stunning with views out over Pakiri but it came with a healthy serving of mud. Slippery, true sticky mud, it was a different beast to the Raetea Forest and it tried it’s best to suck me in.

I definately dont regret carrying my long gaiters for the Northland forests, it means my shoes are way easier to clean and no mud gets on the inside of the shoes.

After a massive climb to the summit, it was down again and a short stretch on the road before starting the Govern Wilson to Dome section.

Met a couple of DoC workers on the track and said hello. One of then said we only had 2 hours to the Dome Cafe and then 5 minutes later the next fella said 4hours. Crap! Which was more realistic? It was the goal to get there before the kitchen closed at 4.30pm.

After hiking in the morning solo I ran into Jasper & Marte having a wee lunch break so we tramped on at a pretty decent pace .

Not having lunch and just multiple snacks didn’t work that great for me and could feel a lack of energy for the ups and downs we were tackling.

It was also so hot today! Sweat rolling of the face and drenching tshirts, moisture hung in the air in the bush all around us.

The native bush was super pretty and bright today. Beautiful tracks.

The views from the summit were epic, right down across Matakana and Dome Valley and out towards Goat island too.

And we made it to the cafe whoop! Stairs and a groomed trail greeted us after the viewpoint at Dome so we rolled down and took off the muddy boots and straight for the ginger beer I had been thinking about since Marte mentioned it hours ago.

Delicious.

Tonight camped at a little patch of grass a farmer has kindly made for hikers just before the 500km mark we will hit tommorrow morning.

As well as being hiker friendly , the staff at the Dome Cafe are so lovely and the man gave a couple of us a chocolate bar on our way out. Random acts of kindness like that really leave you with a smile on your face.

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