Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Jan 3rd: We arrived in the small community of Waitomo around 3:30 pm. A small tourist town that features the famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves. Hot and thirsty, we headed to the camp store for a cold refreshment.  As I sat on a couch facing the entrance, in through the door comes a face I thought I recognized. I wasn’t sure, so I just watched the side profile of this man as he shopped. Could this be Peter Ferns? Surely not, as I had not seen him for 22 years!  Peter has a distinctive tone to his voice so when he spoke to the cashier, I was 99% convinced it was him. As he turned to walk out, I headed straight for him…he stopped…looked at me, and in an instant we recognized each other… with hugs and smiles to follow. Turns out, Peter now lives in Australia, and was vacationing with his family here in New Zealand.  He just happened to come down to the store to get milk. We stayed the night with them in their rental, and reminisced into the wee hours.
Foot note: Peter was the one who gave my brother, Beni, a book titled,“The Greatest Hikes in the World”, for Ben’s 18th birthday, and in the book the “Appalachian Trail” was featured. The rest, as most of you know, is history! 


Jan 5: We were just south of the town of Te Kuiti and had left our camp site round about 7:30 am, to continue down a somewhat remote country back road. This road walk is a by pass due to the trail being closed temporarily in this area.  After about 2 hours into our hike on this quite road…only 4 cars had passed us…as we climbed a hill, we noticed a vehicle slowing down as it passed us. We watched as it stopped and turned around heading back toward us…no idea why. Then suddenly, I recognized the 1st cousin, Anthony Paroli, and his partner Dalena…Unbelievable!
Dalena’s family owns a farm in the area, and they were up from Wellington on a visit and were heading out to go shopping. Easy to guess what followed...we stayed the night with Delana’s warm and very hospitable family, and had a great time, a great feed and a personal tour of the farm!

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