Day 56 Yay. It's Kate
Wednesday 4 December Te Kuiti to a paddock Start 8am Finish 4.30pm Distance 20km Total 891km Steps 33,116 Elevation 300m. Lots of small ups and downs Weather: sunny but not too hot.
After a good night's sleep and having dried all my gear, I was looking forward to today. On the map it looked like a reasonably easy jaunt along a river. The reality was a little (a lot) different. The track was very narrow and muddy from yesterday's rain. It was mostly small steep ups and downs with lots of sidling. Only one small fall when the edge of the track gave way under me. No injuries and no one else around to laugh at me. The river was brown and muddy from the rain, but still picturesque.
My feet have been wet all day, with all of the bottom half (well more accurately chest height), of my body was wet as soon as I hit the river trail. The grass was above my waist and very wet. No point trying to dodge the mud, so today it was straight on through. At one point as I was trying to avoid some blackberry I wasn't looking up and was slapped across the face with a wet frond of a silver fern. Not polite that early in the morning. I may have sworn just a little.
About an hour in I noticed water dripping on my arm - I had lost the end of my water bladder mouth piece. A quick taping with duct tape solved the immediate problem. I can't get a new one until Taumarunui (5 days away), so I will have to make do.
Today I came across quite a few people. Jo from South Africa who walks with Morris from Germany. Last saw them the other side of Pirongia. Then stopped for lunch with Roman (Switzerland), and Gabriel (also Germany).
After lunch I took a wrong turn, for only a very short time thankfully. It was more of a desperate hope the track wasn't really going up the steep hill the arrows were pointing to. Why take the flat route when up and over a hill or mountain is an option???!!!. The story of the TA so far.
As I was heading back to the junction I heard my name being called and it was Kate. Kate is from north of Auckland days when Kate, Chris and I spent a few days walking together. We have been a day or two apart for the last couple of weeks. It was so brilliant to see her and be walking with her again. The rest of the afternoon flew by as were chatted . We arrived at the only camping area around. A farmer kindly let's the TAers camp in his paddock. There is a shed with a picnic table, sink and running water from a spring, as well as a long drop. Luxury.
I really enjoyed today, and I didn't find the trail too bad, even if it was slow going. I just took my time and actually stopped quite often to take photos.
Tomorrow is a huge day - 36km to the next camp and mostly road walking. I haven't done a day that big yet. Kate and I are going to walk it together and start at 6.30am.
Karen (sister) is meeting me there to drop off my food for the next few days. Once again thank you Karen. It has saved me about 2.5kg in extra weight today and tomorrow.