A Romp in the Pukenui Forest
The Death of a Walking Shoe
In the Pukenui Forest
There are two loops of forest track in this remnant of natural woodland just behind Whangarei. One meanders at low level alongside a little river for 8.2km while the other branches off it and climbs, steeply in places, to ‘the rim’, follows the rim right around and back to the start over 8.9km of terrain more suited to a mountain goat than two two-legged geriatrics.
We decided on the former and ended up, through a miss turn, on the latter. Well clinging on to roots for dear life and eyeing up curious hollows at nose level didn’t seem to be following a meandering low level route.
Our route was thankfully marked with little orange plastic triangles which worked fine except for the one that was attached to a fallen palm and showed a route that took horizontal flight to the left. The trail itself was often no more than a worn animal path over a root-bed and disappearing into invisibility ahead.
This gem of a forgotten place, home to kiwi and ‘protected’ by the Department of Conservation (DOC) was full with natural design and vibrant colour. In the death and decay of fallen trees a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes thrived. Two toned fungus and shiny green ferns and moss were shown off to their best by the sun.
A few kauri were overlooked by the loggers who left in the 1920’s and it has taken this long for the forest to start recovering. One kauri had forked just above ground level, see Rob posing infront of it and further along was a sign to ‘The Kauri’. The special little path was blocked by one of the tree living, spear leafed plants that you would not want to be standing beneath when they fell. But peeping around it we saw the kauri in question and it would not have looked out of place beside the kauris on the west coast.
In the photo I am illustrating the early stages of using the boat shaped base of a fallen palm leaf as a sledge. Merv told us how as a boy he and his mates would open up the leaf base, sit on it and slide purposefully down the nearest available slope. A master of innovation is our Merv.
While back in the UK I had used Buffalo Glue to repair my new last February walking shoe as the upper was separating from the sole around the toe. As the glue dried hard and the toe flexes as I walk it was again pulling away from the sole. A few emails between Zoonie and the shop manager in Dunedin where I bought them and I now have a brand new pair, plus a spare pair of inner soles and laces. I thought I might grow herbs in the old ones but Rob snuck them up to the bin before I could reach for my trowel.