9.30pm Auntie. Audreys farm (again)
Lovely scrambled eggs to start the day off courtesy of the neighbours “chooks” and prepared to perfection by Karla. Auntie Audrey had a show jumping competition to judge but was able to drop me off in Te Kuiti so that I could get on the internet, Karla was going to be dropped off straight on the “unlooked forward” to road walk and I’d try catch her up. Plans changed slightly when we got to town when Auntie Audrey suggested she pick us up later and we could sleep at the farm again. Not only was this an unrefusable offer for a repeat dose of the home comforts and good company it also offered the prospect of not having to cart our cripplingly full rucksacks for one day! Yippee!
Instructions given to me by Karla were to follow the river walk bypass to the sh30 and meet at junction on the 936km mark. If not there for the pickup they would drive down the road to see where I was.
I Had a coffee and got on the net but ran out of free allowance very quickly (only 10mb) so walked to find library which didn’t open until 9.30am. Called Marie on way and had a chat including about how wet and windy it was at home still (our tree in front garden has had 3 big branches blown off.) Managed about an hour on PC before a queue formed and it really was about time I got off on the trail (could have done with at least another hour for uploading photos on blog for you, my dear reader).
Bought a postcard as requested by karla who is sending a card from each town back to James. my instructions were to get a Te Kuiti card with sheep and farmland on it. Couldn’t find exact card so bought 2, one from Te Kuiti with shearing statue, a train, a weta and a bridge, the other had sheep and farmland but was from Waitomo area. Hoped I wouldn’t get in trouble!
Succumbed to the bakery for a sausage roll 2nd breakfast and a wrap for later and headed onto trail just before 11am. River walk to the reserve was pleasant enough and without the pack it was at a good pace. Followed the route on the GPS up to a suspension bridge but not clear where went from there. Karla had text to say take low road but then a local said the TA was up to next suspension bridge and i could go either way. I went back and headed for 2nd bridge and ended up becoming committed to the supposedly closed river walk. No signs of it being closed so on I went on what was a lovely flat and well formed track.
You’ve guessed it this didn’t last long and track soon became “arduous” skirting up steep hillsides around impassable parts of the bank, into bramble and good old gorse, through felled plantation with trunks and branches to circumvent. I began to get a bit panicked on where I’d end up and how long it would take. The prospect of not getting picked up because I wasn’t on the road in time began to loom large. I summoned all my navigational prowess and concluded I should carry on until I came to a quarry where a 2km deviation on a farm road should deliver me back to state highway 30. I went as fast as I could without any breaks and took the quarry road away from the river track (which if I’d carried on would end up being 3km further up from where Karla was going to wait for me but hours later). I was Spewed out onto a very quiet SH30 just after 3pm with various calculations going on as to whether Karla could have finished her road walk, called the aunties, been picked up and not seen me on road before I wasn’t there.
Luckily this didn’t happen and I was about 2km off the junction when the car appeared around 5pm. Bit of an inquiry into why I’d not followed instructions but think I was forgiven. It certainly wasn’t an easy day walking. I’ve got a sore toe “knuckle” on left foot, been feeling it for a few days now but its more prominent tonight and quite tender. We’ve got another 40km of road walk before Pureora and unrealistic to attempt in one hit so may be good for my foot if break it into two relatively short days. I tried to get hold of Keith Bus well who is on trail notes as someone who may be able to provide contacts for accommodation on this section but have only been able to leave a message.
We tried to ensure Audrey didn’t have to do too much as she was tired from a hot days judging, I prepared the cooked veg and Karla made a salad. I was given the honour of slicing the cold meat. Apple sponge and boysenberry ice cream was a most welcome repeat prescription for dessert.
Met Bruce, Audrey’s son, who’d been away at an agricultural show near Auckland and had won or been in top three of heaps of best in show competitions. His bedroom is plastered with the ribbons from past events. Also met three of the five dogs. Col is the pet dog and daft as a brush, just runs into you, rolls over for a tummy tickle. Others are working dogs, one just followed Henry the cats every move, the other was very quiet but happy to get stroked.
Watched a bit more winter Olympics from “Sloshi” which is the nickname for the Sochi games due to there being little snow. Ladies downhill slalom was quite calming and wasn’t the only one who began to nod off so came to bed!
Have negotiated with Audrey a plastic mug as replacement for my flask to reduce weight.