Day 55 A Serious Soaking
Tuesday 3 December
Waitomo to Te Kuiti
Start 9 am
Elevation 300m approx
Today was a test for the wet weather gear and waterproofness (not sure that's even a real word), of the pack and liners. Unfortunately everything failed the test miserably.
It started out fine and dandy. A leisurely start as it was a short day to Te Kuiti. Lots of farm land and minimal roads. Paddocks are relatively slow going because the ground is usually very uneven because of the animals. It really was very pretty. The forecast was for heavy rain in the afternoon so I was expecting to get wet. Just not quite so wet.
The wind started first, then the rain came at me horizontally. I tried to take some cover in the trees but it didn't help much. The little blue dot that is me on the trail app (my primary navigational tool), I think was affected by the rain as according to it I was all over the place. In the end I used the old fashioned map reading technique to work out where I was and where I needed to be heading.
I was aware fairly early on in the rain that my rain jacket was more like a cotton shirt. Absolutely no weather proof properties and cold once wet. The rain just continued without let up, and I eventually arrived in Te Kuiti seeking shelter in New World. I dripped my way around the supermarket and by the time I came out the sun was shinning. Go figure. I turned off the airplane mode on my phone (I keep it on to save battery), to find a couple of messages to ask if I'm okay because my tracker showed me nowhere near Te Kuiti in the middle of nowhere. I guess the heavy rain also affected the satellite signals. Not that encouraging as this is my emergency locator beacon.
Luckily tonight I'm in a motel so was able to have a long hot shower to warm up, hand wash and hang up my clothes to dry over a heater, and then discover my waterproof pack isn't quite so waterproof. The top was absolutely fine but the gear in the bottom was wet. That means my sleeping bag. I have a so called waterproof pack liner as well, and the sleeping bag is in it's own waterproof bag. I thought I had it covered but there were damp patches on the sleeping bay. Shit is all I can say about that. I have arranged for Dave to courier to Taumarunui my alpine rain jacket and a heavy plastic pack liner I have at home. Both much heavier than the gear I have, but I need to confident I can stay dry as I gain altitude heading for Tongiriro National Park. The inside of the base of the pack was completely wet. I hadn't taken a break at all once the rain started so it wasn't because had placed it on the ground.
Here's hoping there isn't any more rain before I get to Taumaranui. I have five days before then, and the long range forecast is not promising.