After a relaxing day in the National Park, I decided to take advantage of all the nature around me and do a hike. No, I wasn’t sick and yes, I realize it’s out of character for me, especially after all the complaining I did in Australia. However, when would I ever be here again? Probably never. So I put on my hiking boots and sang a bit of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are made for Walking” as I headed out.
The nearest trail, Tupapakurua Falls, was just around the corner. But, to get to the trail head, you had to walk for 20 to 30 minutes along an old logging road, which was basically gravel and dirt. Not too exciting a start, but once I hit the Erua Forest things began to green up.
Once on the actual trail, nature and wilderness engulfed me and I was amazed at how other-worldly it felt. There was no one else on the track with me. I didn’t hear any voices besides those of the native birds and insects. Some areas were bright as the sun shone through the leaves. Other areas were dim due to the dense, impenetrable tree cover.
The track was pretty easy to traverse, which made it a nice walk for someone who isn’t terribly thrilled about hiking. There were enough hills and valleys to make it interesting but not enough to wipe you out entirely. It’s crazy how close to civilization it was but how far away it actually felt.
Before long I reached the Taranaki Lookout, which gave a nice, if not someone obscured, view of Mount Taranaki. There were benches to sit upon and admire the view, but if you did this you wouldn’t be able to see much. Too many trees and vines obstructed the view, but I suppose that’s how nature is.
On my way back out, I stumbled upon a tui mid-song. As I learned at the Native Bird Recovery Centre, tuis are capable of a lot of notes. It was nice that this tui let me hear some of them since much of their range is not perceptible by human ears. I stopped to enjoy my private concert and thought about how lucky I was to be the guest of honor for this show. It’s these small, unexpected gifts that I love the most about traveling.