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!

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