October 24th, 2017
The first thing I did this morning was call my mom. I didn’t know what to do about my knee and ankle. Should I suck it up? Keep pushing it? I’ve had knee troubles in the past, mostly when playing soccer. I played through the pain. I played when I was sick, injured and sore. I am just way to competitive to be sitting on the sidelines. I have planned for this trip for several months. Reading blogs, watching videos, researching gear, mapping out the journey, stressing about the details but I had never thought of a plan B.
After more tears were shed, Kisa and I decided that skipping ‘The Northland Forests’ section might be the right decision for now, considering my situation. This section includes; Herekino Forest Track 15km/8hr, Takahue Route 11.5km/3-4hr, Raetea Forest Track 18km/9.5hr and Omahuta Puketi Forest Track 31km/2 days. The forests are known for being wet, very muddy, slippery and often looks like an overgrown jungle.
With this decision made, we took the bus from Ahipara to Kaitaia with the hopes of making it to Kerikeri later today. We got dropped off at the Kaitaia i-Site (visitor info centre) but we were about thirty minutes too early and the doors were still locked. We sat outside the building and waited. It was 9am, when we were finally invited to step inside. The friendly clerk informed us that there was no bussing available to KeriKeri because today was a holiday. I didn’t mind staying here for the night as I could benefit from a day off. We left our backpacks at the i-Site and headed to the local pharmacy, where I bought myself a knee brace and a tube of Voltaren cream. We then made the poor choice of stopping at the nearby KFC on our way to the PAK’nSAVE supermarket. I’d never eaten at this fast food chain in the past, not even in Canada, and it didn’t agree with me. While getting groceries, my belly was doing summersault. Yuck. We quickly paid for our grub and got out. On our walk back to the i-Site, we stopped at the Backpackers Hostel. This was the same hostel we stayed at the first night of our trip. Susie, the manager, recognized us and offered to drive Kisa and I back to the i-Site to pick up our backpacks. Kiwis are truly such kind people. While Susie sat in her car, we grabbed our packs and bought bus tickets to Kerikeri for the next day. It took longer than expected and I felt bad because Susie was waiting but she said she didn’t mind. Thanks Susie!
Once back at the hostel, we ran into the same guy, from yesterday at the holiday park, the one who told us that we were in the men’s showers. Oh jeepers, that’s too funny! His name is Andrew. Andy for short. He’s British. After getting our room and stuff organized, Kisa and I sat in the kitchen and Andy joined us. He proceeded to tell us a story from the previous night. He was hanging out with a few German hikers at the campground. He went to his tent and then realized that he had forgotten his first aid bag behind. When he made his way back to retrieve his bag, the Germans were looking through it and reading the labels on his medication bottles. “How f@***** rude, was that?!” he asked us. We all laughed hard, shared funny stories for another hour or so and played pool with the owner. Good times! Us girls, are sharing a room with two other foreigners. A girl from Florida USA and the other from Switzerland. They were both nice and chatty.
Between showering and going to bed, Kisa and I played a competitive game of ping-pong. She will say that she won the game but she was cheating and doesn’t know the rules.
- Best thing today: Resting
- Worst thing today: The knee