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Published: November 25th 2009
Setting off on the 26k ride at Pureora, the trees ghostly in the misty morning.
For the second morning in a row I was woken by the dawn chorus. The first of the birds to announce the new day were the tuis at 4.50 am. The others joined in a few minutes later. The kaka were by far the noisiest as they screeched in the air high above me. I listened in vain for the beautiful notes of the kokako, which I'd heard once before not too far from here. But on this occasion it wasn't to be.
It was far too early to get up, and it was too cold. I snuggled deep into my sleeping bag and watched through the tent's mesh screen as the sky lightened. Soon the first rays of the sun would strike the rimu on the far side of the clearing, and then before long the sun's warmth would reach the tent and turn it into a furnace - forcing me out. But for now it was perfect.
I'd arrived at DoC's Kakaho campsite the previous day - after a short but exhilaratiing ride of 26 kilometres from another DoC site at Ngaherenga. Both are on the edges of Pureora Forest Park near Lake Taupo. It was
The long drop at Ngaherenga campsite, Pureora.
here in 1978 protesters staged a treetop sit-in that forced the Government of the day to impose a logging moratorium and eventually put a stop to native forest logging in the park. We all owe something to those protesters. Pureora is a gem.
Unleashing the Beast of Burden
My ride between the two campsites wasn't marked on my AA road map, but a DoC diagram on a noticeboard had shown me there was a route. It began with a steady climb up onto the shoulder of Mt Pureora, where I paused for a drink. This was the sort of road for which I'd bought the Beast - none of that namby pamby racing bike stuff. From here on the ride was downhill with loose metal and potholes and corrugations. I nudged the Beast forward and away we flew, me doing my best to keep the Beast in the tyre tracks of vehicles that had been before us. The trick I knew, was to look well ahead and pick a path but several times I misjudged it, and went into corners on the wrong side of the road. I needn't have worried. There was no-one else on the whole of the
Taking It Easy
Summer's arrived, and I opened the tent up and relaxed with a two-day-old copy of the Sunday Star Times, which I found in the campground rubbish bin.
26 k stretch.
River to Myself
I arrived at Kakaho at midday to find the campsite empty. I pitched the tent and let it dry in the sun, and I skinny dipped in the river. It was a typical DoC campsite - with its modern version of the longdrop loo and a scattering of picnic tables and concrete fireplaces.
That night the stars shone brightly and I fell asleep trying to watch them. And this morning I was woken by that dawn chorus. It was one of those campsites that will remain in my memory.
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