Today's plan was to canoe to Pipiriki and then walk 12km to Jerusalem. As our canoes were being picked up at 1230, and it was only 21km on the river, we were in no rush to depart - getting underway about 0850. I recorded two separate GPS tracks for today, one for the river section and another for the road walk to Jerusalem. They can be found at:
The weather was a bit more sunny today and the river had dropped further from yesterday, although it was still above normal. This meant reasonable travel speed and some smoother water in some places, although the headwind did slow progress at times. There were some nice reflections of scenery on the river to be seen today - hopefully one or two of the photos can show it. We had a couple of slightly bigger rapids to negotiate today - one at Ngaporo and another right near the end at Pipiriki, although neither threatened to cause us harm in the end!! So all in all it was a good 3 hours or so on the river before pulling in at Pipiriki. We reorganised all our packs, had lunch - including a beer for me and Chevy since we couldn't have alcohol at Tieke Kainga - and psyched ourselves up for another road walk!
With the canoes picked up, we shouldered our heavy-feeling packs and tried to remember how to use our legs for walking! The scenery is still very impressive here with the dramatic papa cliffs on both sides of the river, although green farmland is starting to make an appearance as we get further down the river. Even in the first 12 km to Jerusalem we could see the massive damage the June 2015 floods did - there were lots of bits of roadworks going on to fix major and more minor slips on the road. It must be an incredibly expensive business!
The road was a generally steady climb for the first 8-9 km, but only from around 50m to 170m so not to bad. Then the final run into Jerusalem was pretty much downhill. We arrived and headed up the hill to the nunnery and found a sister in the house who showed us the accommodation in the old convent house. The place is incredibly cute and peaceful. We went to look in the church but found lots of bees in the foyer! Upon opening the doors into the main church, it was evident there were even more bees everywhere inside! Both Franziska and I are allergic to bee stings so that visit was off the agenda unfortunately!
A lady near the driveway to the nunnery has set up a little shop in her house - very entrepreneurial - so Franziska and I walked down to get an ice cream and cold drink, and an ice block for Belinda! Good to see how the TA can bring a bit of money into these small communities. Kevin, Gill and Greg arrived and Gill had brought a "snack feast" with her, so after a shower we all settled around the kitchen table for cheese, hummus, crackers, dip, strawberries and chippies before dinner!!
Chatting around the table, we discovered that they were planning to stay tomorrow at the same place we had been thinking of trying to reach, about 34km away. Gill kindly offered to take some of our gear in the car tomorrow to lighten our loads a bit for the road walk. We quickly accepted the very kind offer as it would ease or long day - thanks Gill!!
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"!!