January 14th 2017
Possible camping – Taumarunui
Total distance: 656.1miles
We woke up early today and were on the go by 6:30am. The lure of real food and soda helps get us out of our tents at a reasonable time. Putting on my wet horrible shoes and socks was particularly unpleasant this morning but I knew they would dry out as I walked. The condensation was terrible and we packed up our wet tents. It was a road walk the whole way to Taumarunui. First a bit of dirt road and then onto paved road.
We had to climb over a metal gate, but after that it was plain sailing. The roads were very quiet to start with and all four of us were able to walk in a row. We played stupid games to keep us occupied and to make the miles go by without us noticing. We had great views over the hills and of fields of cows and sheep and horses.
There was a poor little sheep with a gimpy front leg which had somehow escaped from wherever it came from. Sheep aren’t too keen on humans so it ran away from us, and it kept running. Instead of just hiding in the grass to just let us pass it kept running, poor little sheep! Eventually it kept very still in some tall grass and we passed it. We were followed by some cows and that was about all the animal excitement for the day.
About half way into the paved road we came across Sam’s Shop. Sam is a young boy who lives in a house which is right on the trail. With his dad he build a shop outside his house where he sells eggs. The money he makes from the eggs he uses to buy candy for TA walked which he gives out for free. He provides sweets, water, fruit, shade and a book for us to write in. He has an awesome world map (a very odd one where New Zealand is in the middle!), and you can pin where you are from. We met Sam when he had a break from his dirt biking and his Dad came over and gave us a fresh watermelon. It was such a nice and welcome stop.
Just before town we came to a little convenience store, and having been 5 days without a soda, we stopped to get a little pick me up before the last couple of miles to town. I had a 440ml can of dirty Mountain Dew and it barely even touched the sides.
We carried on into town and headed straight for the Thai place and had the meal we had been discussing for the last few days. Masaman curry and basil chicken. On our way there we saw Erin and Trevor who had taken the Timber Trail the whole way instead of the TA, they arrived only a few moments before we did. The meal was delicious, exactly what we wanted. We then headed over to McDonald’s to abuse their free wifi and have a chocolate milkshake for dessert. I felt thoroughly sick after that! Everywhere we go we attract attention and we had conversations with all sorts of people today about what we are doing. Dingo Dave and Mongrel Mike came in while we were there and said they were going to join in the river trip with us! Yes!!
They had a ride going to the holiday park and after going to New World to buy food for dinner, Erin and Kristen took all the shopping and went back with them to the holiday park while Julia and I walked the 2.7 miles.
We stopped to get a soda for the journey and despite it being about a million degrees the time went quickly and we were at the holiday park before we knew it. The others were chatting to Remi (French guy now cycle touring instead of walking) and he is also going to join us on the canoe trip. We have quite a crowd now, around 14 people I think.
After a wonderful, free, hot, powerful shower I felt sort of clean. Unfortunately New Zealand hasn’t embraced the miniature culture of items like shampoo and toothpaste so we had no shampoo, but even so, it was nice to have a clean body.
We made our taco dinner, based purely on the fact someone fancied guacamole, and we had an absolute mountain of food. I ate until I felt sick again and then it was way past our bedtime so it was time to go and lie down.
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.