• Kay

Day 66 Eating Posh

Saturday 14 December Mangatepopo Hut to National Park Village Start 6.30am Finish 4.45pm Distance 29km Total 1151km Steps 45,747 Elevation About 300m, but mostly it was downhill

What a difference half an hour makes. Last night, very quickly a mist descended and you could no longer see Ngaruahoe, or anything much else more than 5m away. Overnight it rained. Nothing too heavy but enough to wake me 3 or 4 times. I woke around 5am but it was raining so I stayed put waiting for the rain to stop.

Eventually I headed off at 6.30 am into a heavy mist. Shortly after starting, the TA trail took a turn off the main route and immediately it became a far less manicured track. In other words it was wet, muddy, narrow and slower than expected. It was however ethereal in the mist and I loved the heather and grasses covered in rain drops.

Chateau Tongiriro

The mist remained for the first 3 hours. Chateau Tongiriro made an appearance through the mist and it reminded me of a childhood holiday. One of my first memories, I recall a family holiday which included driving the Desert Road and playing in snow for the first time. I can't remember where we were heading but I do remember we also drove by the Chateau. As a youngster of about seven I was in awe of its grandeur, dreaming of one day being posh enough to actually go in.

In a smelly top, mud splattered leggings and soaking wet shoes, today I decided I was posh enough. I had breakfast at the Chateau, sitting in the dining room full of chandeliers and grateful no-one actually held their nose when I was looking. I know its not something on most bucket lists but it was so wonderful to fulfill a little girls dream after 45 years. I also used to dream of being the Pope. Not being Catholic will make that dream a little harder to fulfill.

I set off on my way again and by this time the mist had cleared and I had stunning views of Mt Ruapehu for the next couple of hours. I took my time again today, stopping frequently to take dozens of photos.

One of the many waterfalls

The last 7km was road walking and by this stage I was done in, so I power walked with the intent of getting it over with as soon as possible. Tonight my feet and hips ache. I am hoping they will have recovered by the morning. Two more days of walking, then it is several days on the Whanganui River. I'm am so looking forward to giving me feet a rest.

Tomorrow I am going to have a late start, trying to get as much rest a possible.

Yesterday I managed to completely miss the 1100km mark, so no photo, but yay, I've done it.

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