Day 9 Back on the Road Again
Friday 18 October
Day's Distance: 20.5km
Elevation: 221m, Flights equivalent: 113
Weather: Overcast. Heavy rain and wind overnight
Back at it today and it feels good. The feet have done well, although aching a little, and the rest of the body is playing the game too. A photo update of the hives is right at the bottom, just in case you don't care to look. The day has gone quickly, with the walk from Kaitaia to this campsite ( a grass area with a water supply and spade for a toilet), going much faster than expected. Road walking is fast (for me about 4.4 km an hour at the beginning of the day - a bit slower at the end), but hard on the feet, and pretty much all of today was on roads.
It was an early finish. I had contemplated going to the next campsite, but that is up a muddy track and 4 to 5 hours away. On that basis I have decided to take it easy today.
It is my plan to walk every step, obviously with the exception of the water crossings - I've yet to perfect the walking on water technique! So I didn't hitch hike the 5 km section of State Highway 1, just out of Kaitaia as recommended in the trail notes. The traffic was steady and all drivers considerate. I walk on the right, toward the traffic, and step right off the road each time a vehicle passes.
The walk along Ruaroa and Takahue Roads was lovely green farmland, progressing into native bush. I had two offers for a lift, and I shared a ginger beer with a lovely gentleman called Dave at his home which is right on the trail. People who look out for TA hikers and offer any small kindness are known as 'Trail Angels', and Dave was my first Angel. He had offered me a lift and when I declined he invited me for a drink at his home a few hundred metres up the road. With my resolution to accept the generosity of strangers and not give in to my natural introvert instincts, I said yes. Dave gave me directions and I arrived about 10 minutes later. We had a lovely chat about the various TAers he has hosted and I was then on my way again.
My photos today were of the wild flowers along the side of the road. I know some are weeds, but they are pretty. A weed is after all just a plant in the wrong place.
Arriving at my campsite of the night surrounded in manuka, my first friendly fantail welcomed me. Yay, I'm in the bush - well nearly. I can hear a horse nearby, and cows. And a car door every now and again. So not quite the wilderness yet.
I had smoked salmon and camembert in a wrap for a late lunch which was divine. It however makes the prospect of freeze dry for dinner even more unappealing. I am yet to have 'hiker's hunger' kick in. It is a phenomenon of long distance walkers whereby you are always hungry and will eat anything and everything.
No one else is is here which I find a little surprising. Dave said he saw quite a few people two days ago, but I was the only person he had seen today. I think that the tides and weather on 90 mile beach may have meant there is a gap in the people coming through. With the extra couple of days recuperation at Kaitaia I am now out of sync with others. Not necessarily a bad thing from my perspective. Loving my little campsite and looking forward to the notorious Raetea Forest tomorrow.