• Kay

Day 83 Unbelievably Hot

Tuesday 31 December

Mt Lees Reserve to Palmerston North

Start 7.10am

Finish 6.20pm

Distance 34km plus an extra 1km to get breakfast in Fielding

Total 1,470km

Steps 52,508

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.

Dawn reflection on the power lines

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.

Wind turbines near Palmerston North

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.

The cemetery
The TA sign in the cemetery

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.

Manawatu River

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.

Manawatu River

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.

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