Day 59: Burrton Memorial Makahika Adventure Center

Distance today: 26.2km

Distance total: 1736.2km 

Time hiked: 9h 51min

Time total: 488h 25min

Even though no precipitation was predicted for today, it starts drizzling heavily 5 minutes after I start hiking. Within minutes I'm soaked.

Since I got so used to my hiking poles, hiking without them seems weird is difficult. So I keep an eye on suitable limbs, which I can use as hiking poles. Not easy at all. The wood is mostly rottsn and not suitable at all.

A short, quite miserable road walk (it's windy and pouring down) connects the Burrton Track with the 15 kilometers long Makahika Track. 

On the first few meters of this track, I spot a long, more or less thin and strong looking limb. I break it in half and ét voilà, I have new hiking poles. With more than 500 grams each, a bit heavy though ;)

With my new poles, hiking goes much easier on the muddy but otherwise well benched trail. Initially it is climbing steadily up to a look-out. Instead of the "grand vistas", I'm right in the clouds. Zero views yet again. St least it stopped raining.

A long, continuous descent leads down to the Makahika Stream, flowing through a picturesque valley, totally reminding me of the gullies close to my home in Switzerland. A very pleasant walk with many small stream crossings. I cross Makahika Stream probably around 15-20 times. What's initially a lot of fun, gets a bit annoying towards the end though.

Another thing that bothers me is my left shin, which started to hurt slightly after the descent. By the time I reach the end of the track, it hurts fairly badly and the last 1.7 kilometers to the Outdoor Education Center, are no fun at all to walk. 

I think the previous long road walking days were too much stress for my left leg and this last steep descend triggered the pain. I had the same during the last kilometers on Ninety Miles Beach - the left leg as well. At that time I thought it was probably because the left, the "landside" leg, was always a few millimeters higher up than the "seaside" leg.

Same with road walking. Roads are usually sloped - highest at the centerline and falling down towards the edge in order to let water drain off. As I walk on the right side, against the traffic, the left leg is again a few millimeters further up - same as at the beach and thus exposed to slightly but persistently more stress.

John, who owns the Outdoor Center, offers TA walkers a free place to stay, free food and hot showers - basically in the middle of nowhere.

While I'm resting my leg, he supplies me with valuable info for the Tararua (including a possible short-cut, which sounds so tempting but which I won't take ;) as well as a saw and file to fine-tune my "hiking poles": Cut them into the right length, remove sharp edges and wrap around some duct tape to make them grippier to hold. Hopefully they will last for the next 4 days to Waikanae - the same is true of my legs of course.

Descending down to Makahika Stream
Descending down to Makahika Stream
Lovely Makahika Stream
Lovely Makahika Stream
Some unexpected amenities at the Outdoor Center
Some unexpected amenities at the Outdoor Center

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