January 15th 2017
Total distance: 656.1 miles
After working out we have 11 days to cover 70 miles we decided to take a day off today. And we chose a great day for it because it was pouring with rain. I did not feel great when I woke up. My ears were all blocked and waxy and my stomach wasn’t happy. I went to the loo and got rid of everything very quickly. The others started making breakfast, an egg scramble which we had planned with the leftovers from last night. The smell of the eggs really turned my stomach and I didn’t eat anything.
Erin managed to sort out all our laundry and it’s so nice to have some clean clothes. The socks still smell pretty gross but at least the mud has gone. It will take something industrial strength to get them properly clean. We decided to go to the cinema for a 2pm matinee so we hung around in a little cabin for a few hours, charging our electronics and updating blogs/social media. It rained harder and harder, we didn’t want to walk to town or hitch in the rain and thankfully Phil, the nice man from the holiday park, offered us a ride into town.
It was raining but not cold and I made a mistake by dressing up like it was winter. Our first stop was to the tourist information centre to have a look at our options for the Tongariro crossing. I’m not going to go through it all because it’s so complicated and my brain hurts from thinking about it, but the long and short of it is our options are mostly dictated by the weather and which DOC campsites are available. This is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks so it’s very popular and the huts and campsites get booked up really far in advance, they are all booked so that immediately cut down our options. The only clear weather in the next week looks to be tomorrow and the day after. Tongariro seems to have its own little weather system going on and there are often high winds and heavy rain.
Julia and I are keen to keep the journey a linear one but it looks like we may have to ditch that idea and end up flipping around a bit to make the most of our weather window. We decided to make a final decision after we had been to see the movie. We chose Sing and it was good fun, it wasn’t really one of those animations which are made for kids and adults, it was made for kids, but it was nice to switch off for a bit and be immersed into a world of singing animals.
After the movie we made a loose plan which involves us hitching to Whakapapa tomorrow morning, hiking the first half of the Northern Circuit, then doing the Tongariro Crossing on Tuesday for the best weather, continuing to National Park the day after that and then hitching back to Taumarunui to complete the part we will miss by hitching to Whakapapa. It means we do all the TA miles just not necessarily in the right order, but that’s what we have to to to make the most of the weather.
After we sorted that out we went to McDonald’s to make use of their wifi and ended up getting some food there. I have been hiking with Julia for far too long, when I opened up my cheeseburger to remove the pickle, she reached over and picked it out and ate it, and that was ok. We hung about in there for a while before going over to New World to resupply. Our new plan means that we don’t have to carry more than 3 days of food which is great news. I’ve probably got too much food for 3 days but it’s better than not having enough. I packed pretty much the same as my previous resupply, I felt a bit rushed as we had met Helene from the holiday park at the store and she said she would give us a ride back. I certainly didn’t want to miss out on the ride so I just bunged a load of stuff into my basket.
Back at the holiday park we sorted through our food, I took another shower because I found some shampoo in the items-to-share box, and Erin made some more guacamole with our leftover food and we polished that off with the tortilla chips. We spent most of the evening sat with Remy, Trevor and Erin and another cycle tourist exchanging stories about our experiences so far.
It was a fun evening but by 10pm we were all starting to get cold, I had definitely left it too long and I struggled to warm up when I got into my sleeping bag. We were going to get up super early and try to hitchhike to Whakapapa tomorrow but there are two girls who are going that way and have offered Julia and I a ride. A hitch without trying, my favourite.
I feel ropey again as I go to sleep. Hopefully it will pass in the morning. Today was the first day I didn’t take a single photo. Ok, so I took one of the charging station!
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.