Porirua to Johnsonville

Now I must be very slow, because it took me most of yesterday to do what the Te Araroa website claims I should be able to do in only several hours. However, I claim a handicap. We’ll get to that shortly.

Leaving Porirua centre, I walked up towards Colonial Knob, the high point of the surrounding area. There was a well-made path going up through forest, but I was very tired of steps by the time I finally broke past the treeline. Five minutes later, fog rolled in, and lots of it. One minute I saw ragged little plumes blowing across my path, and the next I couldn’t see anything. Alright, that’s a slight exaggeration. I could make out a five metre radius, but that was about it. Then it started raining. Needless to say, I was going very slowly, not wanting to lose the track or, you know, take a header down the hillside. The sensible thing to do would have been to turn around and head straight back down, but that would mean hauling myself back up all those steps next weekend, and I’m just not that bloody keen.

The fog was so bad that when I got to the radar station, I could barely make it out even with my nose pressed against the fence. The view from the Knob is supposed to be spectacular, but of course I couldn’t appreciate it; I didn’t even bother trying the camera.

So I crept along in the rain and the mud, freezing and unaccountably putting off putting on my waterproofs (I’m paying for it today, feeling all chilled and awful). It got easier once I was down in Spicer Forest, and that took me down into the Ohariu Valley Road. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you know how I feel about road walking – but this was only about 6 km or so. Eventually I ended up on the Old Coach Road, now a track through farmland heading over the hills. And then, miracle of miracles, at the top of the old road just a few minutes away from my end-point in Johnsonville, the sun came out. For about five minutes, before it went dark. Instantly the landscape looked more lovely. I made sure to get a good shot of it before finishing the day’s walk and going to stand under a hot shower until I thawed out.

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