Mon 27 March 2017
- Km Today: 18
- Total Km: 1151
Tis the last day of my Heaphy Track walk. The Australians are up at 0400 and gone by 0600 as they have a shuttle to meet at Brown Hut at 1130. Not my idea of fun. I will be walking down to Brown Hut, which is supposed to take 5 hours and will meet the folks there. They have been enjoying the sights between Karamea and Golden Bay whilst I have been on the track. The sisters depart the hut first and I walk along with Angus until we catch them up at the point where you can see Mt Taranaki on a fine day. This was definitely not a fine day. There was drizzle and we sat in the clouds so we didn’t bother making the detour to the lookout point. I continued ahead by myself hoping to see them at the exit later in the day. At some points the sky clears and I think it is going to improve but further along the clouds form again and the rain persists.
Water from the recent rain teems off the banks and corners all the way down the track, There are small wash outs and the feet get wet in places where the water is too deep for the stepping stones. A little robin is having a great time washing in a puddle and doesn’t mind in the least that I take a photo and a video of its ablutions.
The forest is mostly beech trees, often black from the fungus which covers their trunks. The moist environment is also a natural habitat for moss and other fungal growths on the trees and ground. One massive puffball is the size of my foot. I am pleased that my fellow trampers are mature enough not to wreck it, as I have seen on other walks. Some people just can’t help themselves. Also the NZ blueberry, also know as inkberry or Turutu grows in abundance, although this variety you don’t want to eat as it is poisonous to man.
And then just over 4hours later I reach the Brown Hut and I have completed the Heaphy Track. As I cross the river I can see Mum taking photos and so I sneak up on her as I am much earlier than expected. Dad has retired to the car, also not expecting me for another hour and having had a quick scout about the hut already. Its walls are attractively finished in river stones and with a low roof gives the impression of a Californian bungalow. We set off down the road towards Collingwood with a stop at the historic Langfords store – a historic country store unchanged in its décor, still boasting its nine pink letterboxes. The store and post office opened in 1928 and have been open ever since. Edward Bates Langford, known as EB, was the postmaster. In 1947 his granddaughter Lorna began helping out while she was still doing her secondary schooling by correspondence. She ended up working there for 61 years, and after she retired in 2008 the store still remained in family hands, run by EB’s great-granddaughter Sukhita Langford. In Collingwood I spot a St John ambulance tucked into the visitor centre. We spend the afternoon with lunch in Takaka and exploring the beaches between Collingwood and Wainui Bay. We stay the night at the Patons Rock Beach Villas, where we had stayed on a road trip a few years back – it is still the wonderful place we remember, Kimberley and Wade making us feel like family.