A while ago, I decided it was time I joined a tramping group. One that appealed and which had good reviews from other “hikers/trampers” was Pack n Boots.
My first one took place in February. This group meets up most Sundays. Beginning with a meeting place either in Papamoa or Tauranga to carpool. Always a good idea as many carparks at the start of many hiking areas are usually restricted to a few car spaces.
The Redwoods would be the beginning of our hike leading over the Whakarewarewa Forest and past a few lakes. Just moments out of the centre of Rotorua and a pleasant 40 – 60 minutes drive from Tauranga with everyone agreeing that it was going to be another lovely warmish day, with the heat adding a challenge to our hike.
This was to be my first long hike, with a few hard lessons to be learned.
There are various walking routes and one tramping route from the Redwoods Carpark and Information Centre. These can vary from less than half an hour to an all-day tramp.
First things first, most of us required the use of the toilets before starting off. What a pleasure they were to use in more ways than one and very arty to boot.
This particular hike was one where no one [apart from the leader] had any knowledge of how long it was going to be. Being the ever optimist, I had hopes that it wasn’t going to be too hard and not too much longer than my first hike with another group. See Hiking Mt Eliza Mine Loop.
I was to be proven wrong on both counts.
The 56 hectares in the Whakarewarewa Forest has long been a favoured playground for horse riders, mountain bikers, walkers and hikers. Who have been drawn to its magnificent stands of towering native and exotic trees, especially it’s Californian Coastal Redwoods.
Our hike for the day was to include the above [though not all the 56 hectares], forestry roads and track, spectacular panoramic views of Rotorua and walk the shores of the beautiful lakes Tikitapu [Blue] and Rotokakahi [Green] it was to be 34km long.
The beginning of our walk saw us walking through a section of the Redwoods; I loved the feeling of being so insignificant amongst these giant 110-year-old Redwood trees. Then came the accent to eventually see us climb approximately 500 meters, via paths and oh so many steps!
At the top, the climb was worth the effort.
Remembering that we had 34kms to do I was seriously starting to doubt my ability to finish it on a hot summers day. Then I looked around gaining a fabulous view of the bush and numerous trees, it was a happy place to be and all negative thoughts faded in comparison.
One of the more memorable sights on our hike was seeing a bearded man with bright red stockings and a sparkly tutu with just 3 hours to go to complete the Tarawera Ultra Marathon, which is a staggering 162 kilometres, for a short moment my empathy went to him and his co-contestants than certain sore parts of my body.
Then came the views of the lake.
Stunning and since the pace was faster than I would have liked there was not enough time to spend enjoying the view or take too many photographs. Ironically the faster hikers had longer breaks than us slower ones! You see the goal for most of the hikers was to complete the full 34kms, and walking along at a slow pace would not have seen them finish at a reasonable time.
During our lunch break by the lake, the hike was re-organised to accommodate those of us that needed to a shorter distance, which was reduced to 22kms. This friendly and welcoming hiking group wanted to make sure that we all enjoyed our day out.
I thanked them, my feet and back thanked them and I could have hugged them for rejigging the hike.
Time to head back to the Blue Lake and wait for the rest of the hiking group.
This situation could have been eliminated by including more details of the length, as writing “long” doesn’t really give us much to go on. I also could have gathered more information by asking questions before embarking on this hike.
All in all, even though the hike was longer than I expected and in parts I became unbearably hot and bothered, I did enjoy the day out in the bush.
Sometimes life is about taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones and challenging ourselves.
It was worth it!
Since this hike, I have indeed acquired more knowledge on what to expect, the terminology used amongst hikers and admitting that hiking requires a high fitness level.
At the end of the day, I survived to tell another tale no worse off and much wiser. After a few more I’m pleased to report my fitness is improving as is my enjoyment.
Until next time, enjoy your walk no matter how short or long it is.
Check out other Monday Walks with Jo