Date: 16 November
Distance walked: 36.7km
Trail covered: kms 890.9 to 927.4
There was a bit of rain during the night. It woke me up a couple of times, but then I’m a light sleeper – everything does. And in the morning the shelter table looked a little like the aftermath of a student party.
The four guys who I met yesterday are sharing food which is efficient, and one even bought bourbon. To be fair, I’d bring alcohol on the trip too if I didn’t have to carry it.
When I went to use the long drop this morning, I walked up to it and heard bang, bang, bang, bang coming from the inside of it. Wow, somebody either ate something really bad and they’re struggling in there now or there is a possum or something else trapped in there. I wasn’t looking forward to opening the door… however as I approached I could see through the mesh a bird trapped inside the little long drop building. I opened the door and it flew away. Phew, that could have been a lot more unpleasant.
The six of us knew we were in for day of road walking today. 37.5km of it, to be exact. So we didn’t waste too much time having breakfast and setting off, although Rhydian stayed behind a bit longer. I remember he always used to set off a bit later when we walked together in the first two weeks.
We passed the point where mystery “non-existent campsite” was marked on Guthook. This is the point yesterday where the guys walked to expecting to find a campsite and didn’t. The building in the background is apparently not a shelter. Don’t try and camp here! The proper campsite is 2.7km north of here.
Here’s the first intersection where we turned left. Today might be a boring day but hopefully there will be some nice trees to look at.
The five of us split up fairly soon. Alex is the fastest, then me, then Ethan, and the two Belgian boys Charlie and Peter both seemed to be limping a bit so they lagged behind.
The 900km point was quite early on in the walk. I noticed where it was and tried to draw “900” in the gravel on the road. Ironically, it was right beside a big sign saying “898” which I think is the street address.
From here on I knew not much was going to happen. I pulled out my iPod and it said those dreaded words “Connect to power”. Crap. I’m sure I charged it. Maybe I accidentally left it playing last time I stopped using it.
It’s okay, I have my phone and Spotify. Although there’s no cellphone coverage and so I could only listen to songs I had previously listened to or downloaded. That meant I ended up listening to Crowded House. It reminded me of Twilight Campsite and days 1 and 2 where I first was listening to these songs.
By 11am I was walking beside a forest called the Raepahu Forest.
And here’s something interesting… an intersection!
I had a lot of time to think about stuff while I was walking. The first thing I wanted to do was to see if my pack started hurting by the end of today. Back when I managed a 61km day from Drury to Rangiriri it was relatively easy and I can only assume it was because I only had my day pack.
The other thing I kept thinking about is how Ethan keeps calling Te Kuiti “Takooty” and nobody knows what he’s talking about.
I passed Alex at 12km into the walk. He was waiting for the others. Peter and Ethan turned up while I was with him. Charlie was hurting apparently. He was 10 minutes behind, and apparently he was going to try and hitchhike to Pureora.
I left the guys and continued walking alone. I encountered these cows as I went around one corner.
They followed me quite a long way along the fenceline, but didn’t seem mad. In this farm there were cows on one side of the road and sheep on the other.
And at one point there were *lots* of sheep. Almost every single one of them started walking away from me as I walked down the road, even the ones that were furtherest away. I felt like a god.
I wondered if Charlie would manage to hitchhike and get a ride. In the first 20km, only seven cars drove down the gravel road, and every single one of them was going in the wrong direction. It was weird that there were literally zero cars going east, all of them were going west. We set out at about 8am and it wasn’t until 1:15pm that a car passed me going the same way. And it didn’t have Charlie in it.
Here’s the intersection with State Highway 30 where people turn left and walk down the highway. Alex turned up less than a minute after I did, apparently he had been trying to catch me. Then Ethan turned up not long after. With the balloons on the post, it looked like we were having our own little party on the side of the road, although actually the balloons were for a kid’s party that we saw a few minutes before here.
I got to have some more cheese and crackers, and this time the crackers were BBQ flavour instead of Sour Cream and Chives.
Passed a marae…
Then a woman came past with Charlie and Peter in the car. She runs Pureora Cabins and it seems this is one of the ways she drums up business. She looks for hikers, asks if any of them need a ride, and offers accommodation. It seems we now have Cabin 7 booked. $60 for 6 people. I’m not complaining, that sounds good to me, especially since we get beds and hot showers.
The pack was really starting to hurt by now – we were about 30km in. I knew it already, but walking with a pack is much harder than without it!
And then, the rain started.
It rained for most of the afternoon. At the time though I didn’t feel too upset about it. It wasn’t too bad walking in the rain to be honest… even though the forecast yesterday said no rain today.
I was quite wet once we got to the turnoff to Pureora . I thought maybe there might be a place in this town to get a coffee. But no, there was no town, this place is just a DOC ranger’s cabin and a few privately run cabins, and that is absolutely all there is. Oh well. There is not going to be anything in the way of civilization for the next four days so no coffee for me.
Eventually we all got to Cabin 7. There is only one place near the cabin where you could get a tiny bit of phone reception so I messaged Rhydian and told him to come and join us, because there was a bed for him too. But there’s a big chance he won’t get the message if he doesn’t walk through the spot where there’s reception.
By far the most annoying thing about the cabins is that the showers only had lukewarm water. It wasn’t hot at all, and I wasn’t brave enough to get under the water stream. Grrrrrr.
Everyone was sore and tired but the mood was good for the rest of the week on the Timber Trail, despite the forecast for tomorrow being light rain in the morning and heavy rain overnight. Rhydian never showed up though. Looks like my message never got through.
Today's walk on the map (blue = Te Araroa, red = today's walk):