Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pou Herenga Tai - Rail Trail from Kaikohe to Okaihau and back....

Today the fog lifted over the Wairere Valley and I said goodbye to mine hosts and headed out to the harbour again.  I paused in Horeke to take a couple of pictures of the wharf before heading through to Okaihau and Kaikohe.  

I had decided to do the Okaihau to Kaikohe bike trail Pou Herenga Tai and was trying to work out the best way to do it. I then realised that I should probably get some diesel for the bus and so the decision was to come to Kaikohe, fill up and use that as a base and head out form there.  I rang the local Park Over Property and Kevin and Diana were most welcoming and said that even though they were not going to be there for the evening, I was most welcome to stay. They have a large back yard where their lovely old Beddy was parked and they had another smaller van on the other driveway. The occupants were off doing the bike ride as well. They weren’t staying the night.  So I have the place to myself tonight, apart from the party nextdoor!
So I met my hosts and they showed me through their beautiful garden and Diana gave me some awesome tomatoes. They are a heritage variety, look very strange but taste just brilliant! I had some in my salad tonight. Anyway not leaping ahead, I then unpacked the bike and headed off down the road to the start of the bike trail. Met up with a young guy who was heading back to Okaihau and was on a roadish bike and was very unfit so I left him behind quite quickly. It is a bit of a gentle uphill out of Kaikohe but as it was the train tracks nothing too bad, just a very gently climb that goes on for about 15 mins. Still in 3rd gear 4th most of the way. Then I came across the tunnel.

 It’s about 80 metres long and turns a corner so it was pretty dark until you turned the corner….. As it was a beautiful sunshiney day, heading into a dark tunnel on a bike things were pretty damn dark! My eyes never really had time to adjust before I turned the corner and saw the light at the end of the tunnel….
From there it was a downhill ride towards Okaihau, passing Lake Omapere and through farmland, maize fields and forest. Quite a lovely ride. Started to not like the return run back up the hill I was coming down but hey… I passed two couples on the way and arrived in Okaihau after about “I have no idea how much time”. I had a bite to eat and had a chat with one of the couples who were also in a motorhome, from Tauranga and heading towards home after going to the top and having a great time around there.
So I packed my bag and headed off. The first 10 mins leaving Okaihau was a bit of a slog up the hill and it was down to 1-2 to get up most of it and 1-1 for the last bit. From there it was a nice tailwind back along the trail. I was not really looking forward to the uphill, but it really never eventuated… go figure. What appeared to be quite a downhill wasn’t that bad as an uphill at all. Met a couple of groups of people on the way back that were heading towards Okaihau, but no-one heading in my direction. So after about 28.11km and 1hour 25 mins I returned to my starting point in Kaikohe. The weather was fantastic with brilliant sunshine and as I write this it is 7pm and the temp outside is still 30 deg Celsius.
So a lovely afternoon nap and salmon salad for dinner with heirloom tomatoes!

Have no idea what tomorrow might bring.