A decidedly mixed day yesterday. I split it in half like I did the walk through Hamilton city – in the morning got myself dropped off at Totara Park, and walked down half the Puhinui Stream Track into Manukau for lunch. Was very impressed with Totara Park: beautiful area, well-maintained trails and clear, informative signage. I made really good time and thought I’d be home early, mid-afternoonish.
Come afternoon, that turned to custard.
I got the bus out to the airport, and finished the other half of the previous day’s Auckland Airport Road walk. Noisy, and very windy, but it wasn’t too bad even if a lot of it was along the verge of the main airport road. It was still interesting to see the planes coming in and out, and there were a couple of surprises, like the tiny memorial for the Erebus crew, and a really cool looking mini-fun park with the most awesome rope course. I’d go back and try it, but I’m leaving Auckland today. Also, am terrified of heights, so it’s a bit of a pipe dream really.
Meandered my way to Puhinui reserve, where I promptly fell foul of OJ’s Rule of Ambiguous Tramping. I can safely say that this was some of the most awful signage I’ve seen in my life – it was getting on to Southland levels of bad. I have a degree in botany, but even if I hadn’t the “this is farmland, this is trees” representational map (entirely lacking scale, trails, directions or a “you are here” button) is something I think I could have figured out on my own. I wandered this bloody farm for three hours, often literally knee deep in mud, trying to find my way out. Eventually I found it – right at the beginning of the reserve, and it took ten minutes to escape. The problem was what looked like the likely (unmarked) route was behind a gate saying “No Public Access”, and so, mindful of Te Araroa’s pleas to obey landowner’s lest permission be withdrawn, I thought “that can’t be it”. One little TA sticker sign would have saved me all that!
So I found my way across and continued walking up the Puhinui Stream Track to meet myself in Manukau. By this time I was filthy (had fallen down more than once in the mud of the Reserve), tired, grumpy, and had been chased by a vicious pit-bull that had gotten out of its cage, only to find I had missed the last bus back to sister’s place. So she came and picked me up and we went to get some Indian food, before going home for a bloody well-deserved drink or five.