January 4th 2017
Ngaruawahia – Hamilton
Total distance: 496.3 miles
It rained most of the night, my tent was already soaking from before and the water started to run down the pole and it was dripping occasionally on my face. Unpleasant. I un-clipped one of the clips holding the inner to the poles and that seemed to help the problem. I think rather unusually that Julia was snoring and I had wanted to finish writing before I went to sleep so all of these factors resulted in me being awake until at least 12:30am.
In the night two things happened. Some kind of siren went off and Bodhi the dog escaped and was trying to get into Julia’s tent. I ignored the siren and after a lot of shouting at Bodhi he was eventually restrained and peace resumed.
We packed up our very wet stuff and had one last play with Bodhi while Julia had a coffee with Peter. We were on our way around 8am and we had a cruisy kind of day into Hamilton. The trail follows a cycle way along the river.
It sprinkled with rain sporadically, we walked on and off the roads but most of the way it was a nice wide path and it was an easy walk into town. Along the road sections we saw so many horses, looking dapper in their coats, and some looking a little odd in their hoods. Anyone know why some of them have these hoods on? We also walked past the abattoir (slaughter house) which was revolting, it smelt much worse than a dead possum. We came across a little shop and got a soda and a spring roll for breakfast.
We had spent the last 3 days learning all the words to ‘Alexander Hamilton’ in anticipation of arriving in Hamilton and today we nailed it. A great way to pass the time! I haven’t seen the musical yet but since Lin Manuel Miranda was on Carpool Karaoke I haven’t been able to think of the town of Hamilton without singing ‘Alexander Hamilton’ in my head.
As we did the final bit of road walking for the day a man came out of his house and was shouting at us. He wanted to give us a ride into town. We thanked him but declined. Back on the cycleway it was full of people cycling obviously, but it was a people path too. We passed some very nice houses and really notice the difference in neighbourhoods to the ones we had just passed through.
We made it to Hamilton around 12:30, checked into the Microtel which is a backpackers place. I had booked a room a couple of days ago. There seemed to be a flat rate price whether you were in a 10 bed or 3 bed dorm, so I went for the 3 bed with the hope there wouldn’t be anyone else in it. We were able to check in early and went into town for something to eat. Our stuff was exploded everywhere so I really do hope that no one else comes in! Town was a lot further away that it looked and we went to a Thai restaurant and then went to Trek’n’Travel to buy our hut passes (New Zealand has a network of awesome back county huts, mostly on the South Island, but the first one is a couple of days out of Hamilton). A Scottish guy called Colin runs it and is nice and helpful.
We wanted to get all our chores done quickly so that we could spend a few hours lying down and do some very important napping. So we went back to the hostel via the cheesecake shop where we bought a quarter of a cheesecake to share, and to Pack’n’save to buy something for dinner and some snacks (plus a 1.5l bottle of L&P – my new favourite soda – for NZ$1.49!!!) for the movie that we have decided to go and see tonight. Pack’n’save is too big and too overwhelming, and we decided to do our resupply tomorrow instead so we don’t have to think about it today. We saw Marjory on our way back and she is thinking of taking a zero tomorrow.
The aim was to get back, put our laundry on, lounge about, relax, nap, eat cheesecake in bed and shower when we had clean clothes to put on. I put practically everything I own into be washed so I wrapped myself in a bed sheet. Julia had spare clothes so after her shower she was going to go and get the laundry in.
We received word from Kristen and Erin who were in Hamilton and they came and met us so we could make a plan for the upcoming river section where we hire canoes for a multi day paddle down the Whanganui. It’s way more economical, and more fun we hope, to do the river in a group. A company called Blazing Paddles offer a group rate and at the moment we have a group of 7 or 8 which should be really fun (me, Julia, Kristen, Erin, Marjory, a Canadian couple I haven’t met yet and maybe Creya the girl from Taiwan we met a couple of weeks ago). We spent ages chatting to them which meant we didn’t get our laundry in until late. I hadn’t been able to eat my cheesecake in bed and I definitely hadn’t done enough, if any, lying down!
Our relaxed afternoon turned a bit stressful when we had to dry our clothes, cook and eat a pizza in a bed sheet, throw on fresh clothes onto a dirty body within about 10 minutes before practically running to get to the cinema on time.
I was sweaty in my sleep clothes when we arrived but we were pleasantly surprised to find very spacious and comfy seats at the cinema. We saw La La Land, which was totally bonkers and I still don’t quite know what to make of it. I don’t think I would watch it again. I felt like I had been slammed into my seat. My body felt totally numb and in all over pain at the same time. My legs hurt a lot. Everything is tight and my hips are clicking continuously. My knees are really sore and I just feel so tired. I honestly think I could sleep for about 48 straight hours.
It’s a bit weird doing this ‘normal’ activity in the middle of an adventure. I love it but it also reminds you of everything you’re missing from a life back home.
We get back to the hostel and I finally take my shower at 11am. I write this which is probably a load of nonsense and happily fall asleep.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.