Day 83 Unbelievably Hot
Tuesday 31 December
Mt Lees Reserve to Palmerston North
Distance 34km plus an extra 1km to get breakfast in Fielding
Elevation: more than expected but only about 250m
Weather: Hot, hot, hot
That was a @#$%* pig of a day. I don't know what the news said the temperature was, but whatever they said they were lying. It was at least 5 degrees hotter, and then when you take into account the heat radiating off the melting tarseal it was probably another few degrees on top of that.
To distract myself I played this little game of how much melted tar can you collect on the bottom of a walking pole. Quite a bit it transpires.
The day didn't start so badly, although I knew it was going to be a long one of pretty much all road, some of it busy traffic wise. I timed my departure so I could reach Fielding in time for the first cafe to open so I could have a cooked breakfast. I thought that would set me up well for the day. My timing worked well and only added 1km. I contemplated taking a diagonal street back out to the main road which was the trail, but this would have meant missing about 500m of the official trail. Although I had more than made up for it with the walk to the cafe, I just couldn't do it and back tracked. By the end of the day I was rethinking the intelligence of such a pig headed mindset.
The breakfast was indeed lovely, and it set me up for the next little while. I took my time and enjoyed beautiful Feilding. Fun fact. Did you know it has won NZ's Most Beautiful Town 16 times? Had a lovely couple of chats with some older gentlemen, one who said that he would love to do what I am doing, but the zimmer frame's wheels probably weren't robust enough. He said he was 92.
An hour after arriving at the cafe I set off again. By now the heat had built up. For the next hour and a half I was doing okay. By midday I was melting and on the long straight road between Feilding and Bunnythorpe with the railway line running alongside, there was precious little shade and only about 1 metre between the road edge and a place to sit.
On the way to Bunnythorpe I did amuse myself with contemplating who on earth gave it its name. Must google that at some point*. Once there, I found a run down, sad looking place. The dairy was mostly bare shelves, however it did have icecream, soft drinks and a tree I could sit under, so it's not all bad.
The final push to Palmerston North was a further 14.5km, including 6km alongside the Manawatu River. Just before the river the trail went through the most unusual section to date- a cemetery. Right through the middle of it, and the oldest cemetery in Palmerston North no less.
It was a great distraction and had delightful shady trees but once through it the heat was unrelenting. Although the walk along the river would have been, under normal circumstances, lovely, I was just too exhausted to appreciate it. Thankfully I had booked a motel on the basis I didn't want to be in a tent on New Year's eve in a campground. I needed sleep.
Arriving at the motel I felt a little spaced out, and when I got into my room I was nauseous. Heat stroke or dehydration came to mind so I downed the remaining bottle of L&P I had, copious amounts of water, and I sat for a very long time in a cool shower. Actually ended up hand washing my laundry while sitting in the shower. Multitasking at it's best.
I felt significantly better after that. It was just before 8pm, but I still needed to go to a supermarket to resupply for the next 6 days. I got a taxi, with minimal thought bought the food, and on carrying it to the taxi wondered how the hell I was going to carry all this weight in my pack. I'm back at the motel and have run out of steam to sort anything more.
I have ordered a delivery pizza which will take an hour, being New Year's eve. I should have thought of that earlier. Guess my brain is a little fried. I intend to sleep in tomorrow, and not leave until the 10am check out time. I need sleep. Here's hoping the revelry of the night doesn't keep me awake. Happy New Year.
* It was named after Henry Bunny who took up land there in the 1850s.