Left the backpackers about 0745 for a quick 300m or so walk to rejoin the trail on the river walk. A further few hundred metres saw us go under the Claudelands bridge and head west away from the river and up through the middle of town.
The link to the GPS data from the Suunto Ambit3 for the day is here. If you haven't had a look at this info before, give it a try :-) - there is a whole heap of info about aspects of the day's walk (some useful, some not so!!!) including a map. If you click on "satellite" in the top left hand corner of the map it will look just like Google Earth to give you great info about the type of terrain etc.
Stopped at a cafe in town for a quiche for brekkie for me and a bit of gluten free slice for B (she had some cereal before we left!). Then on westward past Hamilton Girls High School and around Lake Rotoroa and on out to Dinsdale.
We then headed to a place called Tills Lookout which have us some good views back over Hamilton as well as out to where we were heading. We met a local bloke by the name of Basil walking there - he had done a lot of tramping and walking so spent some time pointing out all the key features to us. It certainly makes a difference - he could point out the Kapamahunga Ranges (that we were heading into) as well as the main peak of Mt Pirongia where we expect to be on Tues night!
After this was a mix of pathways, farmland and roads to Whatawhata (that was about the 16km mark for the day). Included in this section was a walk past the Taitua Arboretum. This is a 20ha area gifted by John and Bunny Mortimer to the Hamilton City Council. We decided, with our schedule, not to take a tour - walking through the southern boundary of it on the official TA trail.
We had arranged to meet JP there at noon so he could give us our maps for the next part of the journey. So we stopped there at a very nice cafe and had lunch for an hour or so with JP. A very nice break and good food to fuel us for the next 16km! I also took the opportunity to give JP some of the maps we wouldn't need so he could get them home for us (less to carry - thanks JP!).
The next phase was more or less following Te Pahu Rd alongside the Waipa River until it met up with Old Mountain Rd - taking us up towards the Kapamahunga Walkway (along the ranges of the same name). The first 2.5 km of Old Mountain Rd was asphalt and fairly flat, then it turned to gravel for the next 2 km, at the same time we went up over 160m, so a steady climb.
We got our first shower of rain on Old Mountain Rd near the start of the walkway so waited for it to clear - but were eventually forced into raincoat (me) and new poncho (B). We then turned south onto the walkway which turned out to be farmland through limestone cliffs - nice stock and it was a real pleasure to be walking on hill country again. Just like home! We passed another farm airstrip - those pilots do earn their money!
After about 4 km of farmland we entered some native bush that is fenced off. Just in here we decided to camp for the night, stopping around 1715. That should still make it a relatively manageable day getting to the DoC hut atop Pirongia tomorrow. There was a stray sheep in the bush and B decided we should try and get it out - but sheep being sheep that proved impossible!! Nice try but no cigar!
Fed and in the tent by 1900 - with daylight saving having ended our evenings are much shorter now - a little adaptation to our planning is required. Hikers midnight is coming earlier every night!!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!