After getting through the pureora forest in one piece I got to Taumarunui with an unexpected surprise. The swedes were in town so after getting my gears sorted like always. We planned to walk the Tongariro crossing and the Wanganui river together. Both of these tracks are part of the Great Walks (the first I had heard of them) and this was the first time I had seen well maintained tracks and soo many people.
(Where is the sign saying it’s safe?)
As we climbed the sleeping giants we were treated to a bright and sunny day (the day before had been snowing). By the time we got to the lakes at the top the hordes of people were coming from the other side. I also found an ice pick and felt once we got to Ngaruhoe we were destined to take a picture of a hobbit,an elf and a dwarf in front of Mount Doom.
Come sunset we had made camp at the hut (full of people) and had many interesting conversation with people all around the world. There is a real community feel to the people you find on the trail. I guess we are all looking for adventure so seeing a barefoot Maori with wooden things strapped to his back is a little weird but totally acceptable.
Walking out the next day we ended up in National park and had agreed to be picked up by the kayak crew from there. Though we had a small issue of food. We put our last supplies together and figured we would manage.
The next morning ended up being a late pick up. The kayak guy warned us about river rising and bad weather coming by the weekend and worst of all no reception! But honestly it was so amazing to be on the water. My poor feet got to rest up and we covered at least 40 km every two hours. The fastest I have ever moved.
The feeling of isolation amongst the steep cliffs and forest was kind of peaceful. Each campsite we came to had its own unique charm. There was rain and hail but it was never uncomfortable. Though my blood sugar meter, cellphone and bow all got a little water damaged off the water they all came right.
The river swell worked to our advantage as the closer we got to Wanganui the slower the current moved. The steep forest cliffs made way for sloping grassy farmland. And by day five we had made it to Wanganui.
Pushing on to Levin I had more family friends to visit and the weather up the Tararua range was terrible. We made the decision to give it a pass and headed to my family home in Wellington.
Now at my family home I have been preparing for the South Island. For though I may be half way the South is the tougher half. The Richmond range taking up to 12 days to complete.
My gear has improved enough to last so far but is it good enough to complete the hardest section of the track? (I hope so)
…next blog I will show off exactly what my gear is.