January 19th 2017
Taumarunui holiday park – Whakapapa river
Total distance: 697.2 miles
I slept very well which wasn’t surprising after being so tired. When the rain came down in the night it sounded like it was hitting the tent, but when I realised it was hitting the gazebo and my tent was still nice and dry I was so happy. Morning came and I pulled my buff over my eyes and pretended it was still night. It was raining and I had no desire to get up and go anywhere.
Around 9am I couldn’t lie down any longer and decided to get up and pack away all my stuff. I sat in the kitchen and ate some crisps for breakfast and savoured my half a bottle of very cold fruit juice, it was soothing on my tongue which I must have burnt on the Phad Thai yesterday in my haste to eat it as quick as possible. Sara and Creya very kindly offered to share their breakfast food with us and the made bacon and eggs and we had some muffins and fresh fruit. It was delicious and very unexpected. We sat around and chatted while it poured with rain outside. Colin, Sandy, Sara and Creya are all trying to make decisions on when to do the Tongariro crossing. The weather forecast is crap and we heard it was going to snow above 1600m last night (Mt Ngauruhoe is 2287m).
I finally got around to ordering some new shoes, cheaper for me to order them from Amazon in the states and pay tax and shipping than it is to buy a pair here. Crazy. Plus I haven’t seen my Altra lone peak 3s here and I’m happy with them and know they work for my feet. I have ordered them to go to Poste Restante, which is like general delivery in the states, so hopefully they will be in Wellington when I get there.
We managed to waste the rest of the time by not doing a lot, the weather cleared up and we had blue skies around 1:30pm, and after a nice glass of L&P from Sara we were on our way. We had an eleven mile road walk and a mile along a dirt road. Nothing difficult, we just had to get the miles done.
The road walk was straightforward, about half way through we saw Colin and Sandy having a break by the side of the road, they have decided to get to Owhango (the end of the road walk) and then hitch to the start of the Tongariro crossing to make the most of a weather window. They have also decided to bike river section instead of canoe so we might not see them again. The road had a fairly narrow shoulder in places and there were a few big lorries that passed, but we were surrounded by rolling green hills and lots of sheep and cows so the walk was still nice and scenic.
About half a mile before we reached Owhango it started to rain a little, the cafe we were hoping to be open closed at 4 unfortunately, and that and a vehicle inspection place were the only two places that made up the town of Owhango. So we sheltered by the vehicle inspection place until the rain passed and then we carried on for the last mile down the gravel road. It was 7pm and it was starting to get cold. We arrived at the river and spoke to a nice couple with a beautiful golden retriever in the car park. They had done a small loop walk and they were pretty muddy which doesn’t bode well for tomorrow. He told us we will have a few streams to cross on the 42 traverse, but they should only be knee high at most.
There is a grassy area next to the gravel car park, but the grass was wet already and long grass and proximity to the river mean likely condensation, so we decided to pitch our tents on the gravel, tucked away in the corner next to the sign. We figured there wouldn’t be too many people driving down here now. I was looking forward to getting in my sleeping bag and getting warm.
About half an hour after we had everything set up it started to rain lightly and got heavier and heavier until I fell 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.