Day 38 Hmmm...Had better days.
Saturday 16 November
Auckland Airport to Papakura
Start time 10am
Finish time 4.15pm
Elevation approximately 100m
Weather: Sunny and warm
Today's destination was dictated by the availability of somewhere to stay, other than the side of the road or the Auckland Botanic Gardens in my tent - always an option at a push!
My throat was also worsening. I woke up tired and took my time to get going. With only 12.5km to get to Papakura I had time to take it easy. It was not an interesting day today. Unfortunately, combined with my lack of energy this resulted in taking zero photos. So the photos today are from Chris George who I walked with for a few days. They are of the rainy day we crossed the very deep river mouth.
I can't actually think of anything special or noteworthy of today's walk at all. It was all footpath and road walking with the slight distraction of walking around the peripheral of the Auckland Botanic Gardens. They were lovely but I wasn't feeling great and in no mood to detour from the route. I just wanted to lie down and sleep.
Ordinarily the official trail is heading towards Hunua Ranges but they are closed due to Kauri dieback. It is mostly road walking for the next two days.
By the time I got to a BP station in Manukau at around 12 noon, I was exhausted. I stopped in their 'cafe', and ate a chocolate covered donut. For medicinal purposes only of course, and it really did help morale. I had a great chat to a lovely local lady who commented I looked wrecked. Ahhh...thanks. Didn't know I looked as bad as I felt. I had only done 11km. I stayed there for about an hour reading a newspaper and resting.
By now I am aware the sore throat is a cold and I am also acknowledging I have had shingles (chicken pox for older people), reoccurring since the first week of this journey, and they aren't going away. I am no stranger to shingles, I get them every 4 to 6 months or so, but they have always gone away after a couple of weeks. I am hoping a couple of short days will see me right.
Photographing the photographer: Photos by Chris George
In my mind I broke up the rest of today into 3km sections, taking a break every hour of 15 - 20 minutes. My pace reduced significantly. One of the breaks was under a large Oak tree in the grounds of a church. Just as I was preparing to sit down a rather large rat came out from the grass and slowly sauntered off to another group of trees. It wasn't in any great hurry and didn't seem too bothered by me. I was too tired to be much bothered by it, and I laid claim to the Oak tree territory. Another ice cream at a dairy down the road and I reached the accommodation at 4.15pm.
This was not a place I would recommend. Very run down, which I can live with, but also not clean. It was next to the Great South Road, the railway line and the fire station. Even better I had Room 1 - right on the road front. Joy! On the plus side, it did have a bath - but no plug. So I fashioned myself a plug with the plastic bag out of the rubbish bin and a heavy pot, and I had myself a long, hot soak (having cleaned the bath first). Sharing my break with the rat seemed more hygienic than that bath.
An extremely early night is needed and here's hoping tiredness will overcame all road and rail noises.