I Can hardly believe I am here in a cosy bed on a farm in the King Country. Karla’s great Aunty Audrey has been looking after us since we met her at Aunty Barbara’s this afternoon in Te Kuiti. The farm is over 20km out of town and is over 2000 acres in size with a mixture of dairy, beef, pigs, sheep and even emu (who tend to graze on neighbours property). Aunty Barbara met us at the warehouse store (I needed new memory card for camera…. You people at home are in for hours of slideshows when I get back!). We walked to her house just a short distance away ( Aunty Barbara having a good try at using trekking poles en route). Laundry was instantly organised and packs stowed and we sat down for afternoon tea and scones. IT was lovely, China cups, very decent (hot) tea, home baked cheese scones with spread, chocolate biscuits, all on little plates with serviettes and around a dining room table with chairs. Believe me it almost brought a tear to my eyes.
Suitably brought back into civilised society we headed for the supermarket as this is the last resupply point for next 7 days when I will no doubt return to caveman modus operandi. It needed the up most discipline to keep the weight of what would be carrying down, so as I am lacking such discipline it feels like I have nearly 5kgs of stuff which will be hard work to lug ahead for next few days. Went back to Barbara’s and met the Canaries and picked some oranges from her tree before heading off. Stopped at the sheep shearing statue ( te kuiti has produced its fair share of world champion shearers. Hope you enjoy the factual info in photo.
We had some lovely beef, vegetables in sauce, salad and sweet corned washed down with Speights cider. This was topped off with Audrey’s delectable apple sponge and boysenberry ice cream. I Reorganised the rucksack and identified 2 weight saving opportunities, one to dispense with my waterproof box and the other to replace my beloved flask with a cup!
Back to the walking part of the day which I have indulgently digressed from. We left Waitomo about 8am after a caffeine fix at cafe across road from camp. We were trying hard not to get into the mindset of thinking this was anything other than a tough walk even though was a mere 13km to Te Kuiti.
We were right to prepare as the steep ascents and descents akin to yesterday arrived soon enough. This time with added Gorse, bramble and manuka scrub for good measure. This time it felt like the TA trail makers were testing our resolve by taking us up to every high point and sending us down the steepest route to start again (I’m sure they weren’t really).
After couple hours of this altitude chasing and gorse gauntletting we emerged onto a beautiful field of “compassionate” clover and I just had to lie down on it in gratitude. A level shady forest was also a tonic.
Relief was short lived as we then climbed back up steep farmland to peak after peak reaching the highest one with great views down to Te Kuiti. Day getting hot now so good to have the downhill into town.