Day 58

Very classy at Chateau Tongariro (less than 4 hours ago I was a tramp sleeping on the porch)

Very classy at Chateau Tongariro (less than 4 hours ago I was a tramp sleeping on the porch)

The picture I know you have eagerly anticipated. Chris's calf development is still a tad short of my "gnarled oak" effect musculature.

The picture I know you have eagerly anticipated. Chris’s calf development is still a tad short of my “gnarled oak” effect musculature.

Road the mountain track info if you are interested. We did it in 3 days!

Road the mountain track info if you are interested. We did it in 3 days!

10pm National Park Backpackers. Again

Im not moving south very fast am I! Once again I’ve ended up back in National Park and can you believe it I’ll be back here again in 4 days time!

We survived the night on the porch, hardly slept but at least not bitten and it gave me a chance to stargaze. Walked out this morning after saying goodbye to Katrin (with plan to meet in Wellington) and to the Avondale school group (who were all lovely young adults and a credit to themselves, their parents and the school). Took about 3 hours to get to Whakapapa, Chris feeling it a bit today but awesome effort to get round a usual 4/5 day trek in just 3 days. We enjoyed a breakfast at Ferguson’s cafe and I rang to sort out canoeing for tomorrow morning (Wades 190 bucks each plus 25 pick up fee from Nat Park). Also chased up medical centre but lab report not back yet so they will chase ( I know, the suspense is almost unbearable).

Went to Doc centre and booked campsites for river. We are going to do it in 3 nights rather than 4 to give us chance of getting to Wellington before Chris needs to get bus back to Auckland on 15th.

Nipped into Chateau Tongariro for a coffee and blown away by the decour after night on hut porch!

Got the old thumbing a lift down to a tee and first car pulled over to offer us a lift. Sacred bleu! it was a French guy with his 9 year old daughter. They were on a 3 week holiday and dropped the mum and couple of kids off to do a walk and were heading back to Nat Park. Parfait! Chatted in mixture of French and English as you do ( each trying to speak the others language). You see some French people are pretty decent sorts!

Mike from Wades canoeing had dropped off 6 dry barrels for us at the backpackers and we’ve arranged to be picked up about 7am in morning. Spent afternoon doing laundry, showering, booking bus to Palmerston north for when we get back from river, and shopping for “really heavy fresh stuff as we don’t have to carry the sodding thing” . being the sophisticated bon vivants we are we dined at the Station restaurant and partook in their most delicious green Thai curry. Most pleasant.

So dear reader, they you are, we are up to date and you have the latest sculpted image of my calves, what more can you ask for!?

Alas you will once again have to wait for a few days before all can be revealed about our aquatic adventures on the river. Questions which will remain unanswered

What caused my diarrhoea? And will it flare up again (is it feasible to do a No 2 whilst in a canoe?)
Will my chilsed calves lose their tone with no walking for the next 4 days?
How many blisters will we get on our hands and buttocks?
Will Chris let me steer?
Are there any duelling banjo players in this neck of the woods?
Will the rapids drag us under?
Will we get eaten by sandflies?
Will I ever get south of National Park?

All will be revealed

Day 56 and 57

8.30pm on porch of bed bug infested hut. Round the Mountain T

Rangipo desert on eastern  rain shadow side of mountain

Rangipo desert on eastern rain shadow side of mountain

The things I do for Cancer Relief!

The things I do for Cancer Relief!

rack.

Dads shirt has a great view

Dads shirt has a great view

Mt Ruapehu at sunset

Mt Ruapehu at sunset

Checking each other for Bed bugs

Checking each other for Bed bugs

Lots of ups and downs and across streams

Lots of ups and downs and across streams

Couple of tramps on the porch. Hard as nails (not us, the floor!)

Couple of tramps on the porch. Hard as nails (not us, the floor!)

Chris looking pretty cool on our Xtra trip up to Blyth hut

Chris looking pretty cool on our Xtra trip up to Blyth hut

Not the ideal refuge after another mammoth day walking round the mountain. Arrived at hut to find school group of around ten 15/16 yr olds plus note from warden saying main bunk room infested with bed bugs. They were all crammed into side room (students and teachers, not the bed bugs although you never know!). Vicky the teacher in charge was helpful to explain the situation and offered us use of an emergency blanket and shelter. We’ve opted to sleep out on the porch. Bit hard on the deck so will probably get little sleep and/or be sore in morning. But at least we only have a two to three hour walk out to Whakapapa in morning.

Chris has done awesomely, two eleven hour days in a row and today included some pretty tough terrain. We even detoured up to see Blyth hut as well. His mountain legs are quickly matching mine which is somewhat irksome. I had to put on the afterburners on the road section just to have some sort of sense that my hard yards over last 2 months had given me any advantage.

To say we are just going round the one mountain the environments we’ve walked through have been really different. Today it was much more rugged, craggy and “like Scotland”. Yesterday was a real contrast of desert, gorges, and then beech forest. Day before was craters, lakes an heather moorland.

Hard to describe in words how spectacular it was walking the eastern side of Mt Ruapehu in the bright sunshine yesterday so hopefully the photos will give you an idea.

Day 54 and 55

8pm Waihohonu Hut on Round the mountain track.

Blast from the past today. We met Katrin on the trail, there she was, still in her half shoes having her lunch. We embraced and made favourable comments about our respective svelte like appearance ( we are going back to day 16 in Paihia when we last met).

She is doing the rtm too so we’ve reunited for the next couple days which is cool.

Reunited with Katrin who timed her lunch stop and blink perfectly

Reunited with Katrin who timed her lunch stop and blink perfectly

The weather has been “exceptional” and we’ve had totally clear, blue skies with views as far as Taranaki over 100km away. The terrain has been pretty benign with no steep ascents or descents so all in all a pretty good start. This hut is by far the best standard to date, sleeps 28 and heaps of space, decking, gas, hot water etc. We’ve met Katry’an, the volunteer warden from the states and there are not that many staying (about 10 in all).

Perfect day for a walk round the mountain

Perfect day for a walk round the mountain

Can even see Taranaki volcano (the 2nd most perfect volcanic cone after Mt Fuji) over 100km away

Can even see Taranaki volcano (the 2nd most perfect volcanic cone after Mt Fuji) over 100km away

Man on a mission ( Mount Doom in background)

Man on a mission ( Mount Doom in background)


Unbelievably Karla passed through earlier today as I found her name in the hut register.

Chris is coping well but tomorrow is going to be the real test as its suggested we’ll take over 10 hours to our next hut.

My bowels are acting very strangely. I Want to go but can’t, still getting mild stomach cramps which. Leaves feeling “vulnerable .

I had to collect my stool sample this morning but as I value you as my blog reader i will not go into any detail for fear of losing your patronage.

But I have yet to give you an update on yesterday and I am sure you have already spotted there is some anomaly with my previous blog which stated that we would be doing round the mountain yesterday.

I’m afraid this is due to my bowels again! You know that cold panic feeling you get when your estimation of the resistance of your pyloric scphincter compared to how far away the toilet is a minus number. It meant firstly moving to an upright position (adding a gravity factor to reduce the resistance time of the pyloric spchincter further), unzip the tent in the dark (adding time to find torch being out of the question at this point), deciding whether to stay barefoot and walk slower or put on crocs which would add seconds which could potentially be reclaimed through faster motion (faster motion may not be the words of choice here) these were all very critical selections at 4am.

Suffice to say I just made it and may i take this opportunity to apologise to all those resident in the backpackers if any explosive noises woke them up.

Having the pharmacist’s words ringing in my ears that if still problem after 3 days need to see doctor then I thought I’d better seek medical attention.

Informed Chris and postponed our trip bookings. Phoned medical helpline and found out there was a clinic back in Taramanui at 10am (was Sunday). No one at backpackers going into town so polished my thumb and stuck it out. Took a while as very few cars and those weren’t stopping until Gordy arrived. Gordy works for DOC at Whakapapa village and was on his way to his shooting club in Taramanui. The club use replica muskets to shoot with and have lots of local national and international competitions, also do reenactments, club members number is over 30. He also said he’d managed teams of prison workers who were

Well behaved and no problem getting them to work as they were so keen to have something to do than just serve time. A couple had run or “walked out”, mostly with intention to get caught and transferred because the were having hard time in the current prison.

Got there with half hour to spare so went to I site and also used WiFi outside library (closed as was Sunday). Had to wait a while to be seen but didn’t mind and receptionist was quite chatty. Nurse saw me first and took my blood pressure which was much improved at 118 over 81. Asked if I could weigh myself and unbelievably came in at just under 90 kilos ( I weighed 106kg when I left England!). This was almost worth the 100 dollar fee alone. Then met Dr Bio who was pretty chatty too and agreed best to do a stool sample. Unfortunately as it was a Sunday the lab was not open and I’m not sure if you know this salient fact but stool samples cannot be older than 4 hours for testing so this meant I would have to do my sample in the morning and get it back to them. Equipped with a sample bottle with integral scooper for the pooper, and some electrolyte solution to replace lost fluids I came away 16 kg as well 100 dollars lighter.

Walked away of town centre and stuck my thumb out again. This time got a lift from a very impressively bearded Neil (maybe that’s why he picked me up…. I can sense a bit of beard bonding going on with my fellow beardos). Neil is from Pembrokeshire, Wales and been here in NZ for nearly 3 years. He and his wife have set up a camper van business called Piwiwiwi which caters primarily for surfers. He’s based in Raglan ( NZ surf capital) and has 10 vans. He offers pick ups from Auckland and Hamilton to bring them to Raglan where they get fully briefed on the vans. They weren’t sure yet whether the business will prove profitable as early days but in short space of time been operating had been ranked No 1 camper van business in nz by customers. Sets them a high standard to maintain getting this accolade. Neil was on his way to drop off the van he was driving in Wellington and would then fly back. So if you are in need of a surfy camper van then piwiwiwi is the best ( and I’m not just saying that because Neil has a beard).

Got back about midday and rearranged to do round the mountain tomorrow. Anna, the lady at the backpackers went well beyond the call of duty and offered to take my stool sample into Taramanui in morning which meant Chris and I could get bus to trail start at 8.30.

We went for a 4 hour walk along Fisher Track in the afternoon which was a really nice bush walk with a fantastic view of waterfall at the point we got to, we also could just make out mount Taranaki in the far distance. There were requests for people using the trail to carry buckets of gravel provided along the trail and empty them on the path to help improve it, we were happy to oblige.

It was getting late when we got back and turning really cold. Missed out on supermarket and Sunday dinner at station cafe (was fully booked by mainly locals) so went to pub and had massive portion of lamb shanks washed down with a pint of Speights before shivering our way to bed. Turned out temp dropped below freezing overnight so no wonder felt cold!

Day 53 The Bro’s

9pm National Park Village backpackers

The Bro has arrived!

I met with Chris at Taramanui bus stop yesterday in the baking afternoon heat. The handshakes were firm as this long anticipated momentous meeting of the brethren was realised with the clasp of flesh derived from our closely shared ancestry (one considerably more tanned than the other).

Despite his pasty appearance he looked in good shape and ready for action. We were crammed into the packed bus and on our way to National Park (sibling reunion momentarily suspended by crazy moment of joint recognition with the girl who’d lent me her laptop in Clevedon).

Chris is staying in backpacker dorm and I’ve got a tent pitch. Had a good catch up including the inevitable what are you carrying in your pack and do you really need it.

National Park really geared up for tourists as you’d expect, lots of accommodation, cafés, bars etc. This backpacker’s seem to do everything and have sorted out Tongariro crossing for tomorrow and 4 day round mountain following day!

Went for a walk and found somewhere suitable for our first joint placement of Dads shirt.

We are family, I've now got my brother with me!

We are family, I’ve now got my brother with me!

I'm laughing because I have more facial hair than Chris for first time in my life!

I’m laughing because I have more facial hair than Chris for first time in my life!

This morning we had to be ready for Tongariro Crossing bus at 7.15am. This was a completely alien days walking to what I’ve been used to. Driven to trail and finding not only the busload you came with you there was already a crowd waiting to start plus more and more buses pulling up behind you. A continuous line of people were already on the trail. This was not going to be an isolated away from it all walk! Weather was looking a bit suspect and we couldn’t see tops of the volcanoes as we joined the conveyor belt of NZs greatest one day walk pilgrims! Strikingly attired in our Cancer Research T shirts Chris and I set us off at his pace and it was pleasant enough chatting to people we met, taking photos on each others behalf and enjoying the views (especially of the statuesque blonde German girls Chris somehow managed to maintain pace with! Alas this added attraction evaporated when they decided it was too cold in their short shorts and turned back).

It was getting cold and the wind really whipped up as we climbed into the mist and cloud, people were pinning themselves behind rocks to shelter and one poor kid was hanging on to his dad for dear life. After my goose bumps got goose bumps I covered my T-shirt over with my coat.

Thankfully the veiling skies momentarily lifted and we saw stunning glimpses of tortured rocks outcrops and the full scale of this volcanic desolation where man didn’t seem to belong (despite half of NZ population seemingly visiting on this day).

We stopped fairly regularly but not for long, mainly as you got cold but also encouraged not to linger in this active volcanic area. Quite a few people struggling to deal with slopes and conditions and had to feel sorry for them. Chris coping admirably and whizzed past me on a steep downhill with the worlds shortest trekking poles ( even when fully extended are not long enough for him)!

Some unique scenery and features plus spectacular panoramic views when the skies permitted made this a spectacular walk and I concede justify its “great walk” label.

Timing it to perfection we reached the 19.4km trail end just before 3pm and eventually found right bus amongst the milling hoards

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Chris's pacing timed to perfection as the statuesque German blondes pause ahead

Chris’s pacing timed to perfection as the statuesque German blondes pause ahead

Our first "joint" placing of Dad's shirt

Our first “joint” placing of Dad’s shirt

Chris demonstrating the miniscule length of his trekking poles

Chris demonstrating the miniscule length of his trekking poles

Spent this evening shopping eating and planning our time. At moment we are looking to get to canoe 3 days down Whanganui river after doing the round the mountain. Then cycle from Wanganui town to Palmerston North (2 days) then walk 4 to 6 days in Tararuas before hopefully getting to Wellington before Chris has to get home. Best laid plans eh?

Will be out of circulation for few days dear reader so please bear with me!

Karla’s “You know you’ve been walking a long time when”

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-You’ve given up putting your maps in plastic bags

– You feel naked without your trekking poles

– You give people a wide berth in public places

– Your trekking poles don’t adjust any more

– You know every item, and it’s precise location, in your pack

– Your days are divided into one hour periods

– The sun rises so much later than when you started

– Meal choices are dictated by what is the heaviest in your pack

– You have to keep adjusting the waistband of your bum bag and pack

– You have discussions about meals 2 days in the future

– You know every flavour of dried pasta and its precise weight

– You prefer sleeping outside rather than in the huts

– Blisters are no longer a problem and are replaced with great swathes of leathery skin

– Plastic cheese tastes ok

– You have a bag of plastic bags

– You give your pack a name (Karla’s is Erica, mine is “Bora the Explorer”)

– you start assessing the terrain in Km per hour

– You automatically convert walking distance into walking times

– Your shoes start falling apart

– several miscellaneous items start breaking

– You no longer ask your walking buddy how much water they are carrying

– You finally get used to making allowance for your pack height when ducking under low branches

– You start drooling over other peoples food wrappers

– You no longer worry about dirty shorts from sitting on the ground

– Wet boots provide the opportunity to wash your socks

– You become engrossed in 15 year old news articles you find in the huts

– Dogs make a beeline for your armpits and other smelly areas

– You no longer count the days since you last showered

– You no longer recognise yourself in photographs

– You prefer uphills to downhills

– You fully appreciate the manicured nature of mountain bike tracks

– You look forward to the day you can scoff all the remaining food before the resupply town

– You realise that lighter is better and having spare space in your pack really is ok

– When meeting family/friends you begin by saying ” I might smell a bit” and ” this really is my cleanest shirt”

– The birds wake you up

– When you downgrade your luxury full length air matress for a thinner half length one

– You fantasise about discarding items from your pack to make it even lighter

– When most of the days complaints are aimed directly at DOC

– You no longer bother to remove the Biddy Bids from your legs

– You can tolerate the endless cobwebs attached to your face

– Even 100m out of your way is too much

– You realise that there is nothing else you would rather be doing

 

Copyright – Karla Anderson 21 February 2014 Te Araroa

Day 52

IMG_09411pm Taramanui Library

quite a surreal day already.

You know I mentioned that large group of people at the campsite. Well they continued talking loudly till late. I was in a semi-unconcious state but woke when a fight broke out and lot of shouting. I was too weak to get up up and it died down after a few minutes.

Turns out it the really nice biker guy we’d met and was concerned for me being sick had gone over to politely ask them to keep the noise down as it was getting late he had got beaten up for his troubles! He was really upset when I talked to him this morning and had a cut on his forehead, a black eye and swollen lip. He was going to curtail his trip round NZ as a result and was questioning whether he would now come back and live here (he’d been in Aussie for years but had just bought a house in Taramanui). Really sad and I tried to console him by saying he’d done nothing wrong and was brave to do what he did, and had every right to. Cops had apparently come in later in the night and taken two of the group in for questioning, hope they get suitable punishment.

I felt a lot better this morning and can no longer shit through the eye of a needle, or it would have to be a pretty big needle at least. Spoke to Marie and Alice on phone and said was feeling better. Had a chat with Karla and it is sadly going to be the day we split up after 22 days of sharing this awesome journey together.

We made a joint breakfast of scrambled eggs (Karla) and Bacon (me) and just as I was washing up Karla shouted to come quick. Lo and behold there was the ugliest pig in the world gorging itself on my packs of food I’d left by my rucksack and it had a plastic bag of something trailing from its mouth as Karla tried to beat it off with my trekking poles. Have still to assess the losses and damage, there could be more than I initially think when i see all the slobber on some of the bags!

Gail (Karlas friend) arrived with Karla’s new boots and offered to take me into town so I quickly packed and came in. We said our painful goodbyes and best wishes outside an unglamorous vacant shop window and emotionally drained I came to library. 5 minutes later Karla rang me and invited me for a coffee at the cafe down the road so went and we had a nice chat with Gail and went through the goodbyes all over again.

I’ll be posting Karla’s “you know you’ve been walking a long time” salient comments as a future post.

Karla, it has been great to have met you and shared this journey with you for such a long time. I was really lucky to have met you on the “3rd day” and I can still clearly picture our first encounter around the Bluff campsite tap with those lovely Maori ladies acting as matchmakers. I don’t think I’d have got as far or got as much out of the experience without you. We will meet again either on the trail or over a bottle of Speights Cider with James down the line. Thank you and good luck (especially with those new boots!). stay strong cos you are one tough cookie.

Taramanui campsite. Great to have all herbs and even tomatoes for visitors to use.

Taramanui campsite. Great to have all herbs and even tomatoes for visitors to use.

cannot believe it! this random pig was eating all my stuff!

cannot believe it! this random pig was eating all my stuff!

My Trail buddy Karla. First of our 2 goodbyes today!

My Trail buddy Karla. First of our 2 goodbyes today!

Day 51 Sickie

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A day to forget! Began to feel really ill in the night and not to put too fine a point on it I could have shit through the eye of a needle!

Oh Dear, what have i got? Giardia came to mind as had been drinking some water untreated. feeling really weak and washed out, could hardly walk never mind with a rucksack.

Karla negotiated a lift into town from nice camp site owner lady and I went straight to the chemist for Immodium! if I still feel sick in 3 days then probably is Giardia and will need to see a doctor.

I couldn’t face eating anything all day so just drank some isotonic drinks to keep hydrated. spent most of day between library on the blog and the toilets conveniently next door on the bog!

Played phone tag with Chris (neither of us can hear our phones ring) but managed to talk in afternoon and plan is to meet at National Park village tomorrow afternoon.

Bought a new metal cup, new laces and much against my woozy stomachs protest went to supermarket for a resupply.

Got a ticket for same bus as Chris is on tomorrow and camp site owner once again kindly came to pick us up. She and her husband (a pom originally from Settle!) are really into the TA and found all of us walkers to be really interesting people with stories to tell. I don’t think I was particularly interesting today and and the only story I had was I could shit through an eye of an needle.

just wanted to sleep when got back. Big group of people had arrived and were chatting loudly but I was zonked out and slept (more sinister happenings to come on this)

Day 50

Carpeted log to rest on

Carpeted log to rest on

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Fiona and Nick at the RV point

Fiona and Nick at the RV point

Are we really half way between Auckland and Wellington?

Are we really half way between Auckland and Wellington?

Quite a difficult day, same beautiful forest but i wasn’t feeling too good. Lack of energy and longer recovery to get me up the steeper sections. thought at least was only going to be a 12km day (7 hours) to next hut so struggled on. Tim and Nick (and Zoe of course) were setting a bit after but we kept meeting up with them at different points of the day and seeing how many biddy bids poor little Zoe had attached to her (she had adapted a technique of walking right behind Nicks legs to try and minimise how many got her but she had loads on her poor thing).

Karla and I got to the hut about 2pm and proceeded to wash clothes and set up tents before the boys arrived. When they did Nick suggested that we all walk out today rather than stay. This created a state of mild confusion and panic as I was keen to not lose the lift into Taramanui partly because I was feeling rough and partly so could get a full rest day (first for 28 days!). Karla wasn’t sure as she was not going to get her new boots until Friday and would mean hanging around Taramanui for longer than she wanted to so initially she declined. The boys headed off and I would catch them up when packed my tent. I was feeling rather sad about leaving Karla on her own but just as I was about to say goodbye she said she’d come too so we both set off in pursuit.

the 2 hour walk to the trail end turned out to be a tough 3 and half hours! We caught Tim and Nick up after an hour but Nick had managed to injure himself (and smash his GPS) on a sharp branch sticking out into the path so he was limping a bit. I lent him my trekking poles to support him better and we went ahead to meet Nicks wife Fiona so she didn’t get worried we were late. finally reached the road end and Fiona had only just arrived after getting lost. I headed back up the trail to see if they needed help but they had done really well and were only about 5 minutes behind. Like the old wounded soldier Nick declined my offer to carry his pack for him.

Funny ride into Taramanui as Nick kept criticising Fiona’s driving which she didn’t appreciate one bit. it got quite tense so thought i’d interject with a “see that absence makes the heart grow fonder” smoother. Not sure it went down too well!

At least I didn’t get thrown out of car and they kindly took us to the liquor store for cider and MacDonalds (the famous JD’s cafe in the railway carriage had closed down a few months ago!) before dropping us off at the campsite. Ate the MacDonalds while having a conversation with a Dutch chap who was travelling on his own and I think wanted someone to talk to. Had a lovely hot shower before going to bed

And thats when the fun started!

Day 49

Joint 1000km celebration. (finding it harder to recognise myself in photos)

Joint 1000km celebration. (finding it harder to recognise myself in photos)

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Amazing forest

Amazing forest

getting covered in "biddy bids" (grass seeds with hooks)

getting covered in “biddy bids” (grass seeds with hooks)

have i been in this lichen infested forest too long?

have i been in this lichen infested forest too long?

7.30pm Waihaha Hut (sounds like a happy place!)

Beautiful beautiful forest. It was (almost) a pleasure to be walking for 10 hours today. The forest was just stunning. The trees were all shapes and sizes but they were all coated in green lichen and moss. There was a real Fangorn “fantasy” feel about the place. We are still at altitudes of around 1000m so guess there is heaps of moisture which creates the environment for these to grow so rampantly here. Some of the trees were ginormous (rimu?). I am quite liking this Pureora forest which we are still at least another day and a half of walking out of. Not looking forward to the 51km road walk after though so am working on the possibility of Nick and Tim giving us a lift when they get picked up. They aren’t sure if they will complete the whole trail yet so fingers crossed!

Made up with Karla today and she said sorry for being a bit sharp with me over yesterday’s “camera episode”. In fact we were quite pally and had a couple of longer than usual breaks to enjoy the forest atmosphere. Talked about the future of the earth and pretty deep stuff like pandemics, natural disasters like Yellowstone super volcano erupting, wars over ever diminished resources etc.

But much more importantly We celebrated the 1000th km of the trail in lichen wigs and in my case a matching beard.

Worked out we’ve shared 22 days of the trail so far but this will come to an end soon as Karla is taking a different route after Tongariro (and probably we’ll split at next town Taramanui as I’ll be hitching up with Chris). Should get to see her and fiancé James when we get towards Wellington so can catch up then.

Tim Nick and Zoe actually caught up with us at our last long break beside an idyllic forest stream. Been having a good chat with the “boys” this evening. Tim grew up in England and India (parents owned tea plantation) before coming to NZ. He and his wife run their own training company but are winding down ready for retirement. Nick came out of regular army in late eighties and has been an apple orchard owner (until tesco came in and demanded smaller apples) and then ran a vineyard for some rich dude.He has a Bach on a lake and goes trout fishing.

Day 48

Leaving Bog Inn via the pathless Bog!

Leaving Bog Inn via the pathless Bog!

Joint 1000km celebration. (finding it harder to recognise myself in photos)

Joint 1000km celebration. (finding it harder to recognise myself in photos)

Waihaha hut

Waihaha hut

Bog Inn Hut with Tim, Karla, Nick (and Zoe the poodle)

Bog Inn Hut with Tim, Karla, Nick (and Zoe the poodle)

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summit of MT Pureora

summit of MT Pureora

on the way up pureora on easy cycle track

on the way up pureora on easy cycle track

bird song in the moonlight

bird song in the moonlight

Awoke to a cacophony of birdsong! They Started about 5am even though sun not up, maybe because it was fairly light with full moon.

4pm Bog Inn Hut Pureora.
Got here about 2pm so really early even though have done 7 hours walking and probably around 20km. Pureora is the highest summit so far at 1165m but was mercifully very gentle and benign. There is a new national cycle trail called the Timber trail which is well graded and for 10km we were on it I was able to motor but also look around at what was a beautiful forest.

Pleased to have now met up with Tim and Nick (with Zoe the poodle) who are section walking the Pureora trail. Both in their mid 60’s. Tim has had a quadruple bypass but is trying to do the right things, not sure his hip flask of whisky is one of those. Nick looks in pretty good shape and is ex army. Their wives dropped them off and have gone off with the credit cards to go mad with in Taupo.

Bog Inn hut was built in 1960 and looks it. Corrugated iron clad and rough cut timber is about it. There is a separate long drop and a water supply but there are things swimming in the tank so I am purifying it (after drinking a pint of it unbeknownst to this salient fact). We’ve let Tim and Nick have the hut beds and have made camp on some nice flat areas nearby.

Managed to break a tent pole when taking it down this morning, have patched it up with some spare tubing and strapping plaster so fingers crossed. Bits of my kit now beginning to fall apart. I dare not adjust my trekking poles as been really hard to tighten them up. My shoe laces are fraying, I’ve lost the strap off one of my gaiters, and the stitching has come off one of my boots.