Belinda and I were up early to get an 0700 start. Franziska had decided to get a ride the whole way with Gill - probably a very wise decision. We eventually did 28.5km today to the Wanganui YHA - where we were staying when the 7.8 earthquake struck recently! We seemed to stop for a number of chats along the way today so it took a lightly longer than otherwise expected - but that's part of what our TA journey is about! GPS track for the day is here:
We followed the river road for the first 16km or so. After 1.5hrs we stopped and rested against a farm gate - we were only there for 5 mins when the farmer came along wanting to drive in the gate! So we chatted with Cody for 20 mins or so - his great grandfather bought the original block so it's a real family farm. He indicated his grandfather still lived just down the road as well. We started off again, soon spotting Kevin and Greg paddling ahead of us down the river! About 15 minutes later we came across an older chap letting his dogs out of the kennels - of course it was Cody's grandfather, who was a dog trialist still! We stopped and talked with him (and his dogs, including a couple of pups) for about 20 minutes before heading off yet again!
We were still down near river level but soon started our climb away from the river, up to a saddle about 150m higher - so not a huge climb. This is the section where the river road is closed for much of the day to repair some major slips underneath the road. We walked past the road closed signs up to the worksite. The guys were great (Loaders contractors from Wanganui) and were happy for us to go on through. However, we also had to chat with them for about 15 minutes or so - they were interested in what we were doing and we were interested in how they were fixing the slips!
At the top of the saddle we got a great view back up the Wanganui River valley, but then it was down the other side heading towards SH4.
We then had another 12 km or so alongside SH4 to Wanganui. This wasn't the most exciting walk but in the first half hour or so we talked to: a Spanish TAer who was cycling this leg; then the lady who owned Riverside Lodge where we stayed last night stopped for a chat as she was driving past; and, finally, we ran into a guy from Wellington who is section hiking TA northbound!
We saw a cafe in Upukongaro and decided to stop for a lunch break. Unfortunately we discovered we had arrived just behind a group of oldies who had come upriver by boat. It would have taken ages to get served so we made the hard decision to move on!!
From there we followed the river back into Wanganui to the YHA. Franziska had already texted us to say that they had space for us. Of course, we bumped into Kevin and Gill again! - we had seen Kevin and Greg get off the river at the Top Ten Holiday Park! Greg walked from there and joined us at the YHA - we decided to order pizza for dinner as we hadn't had one of those for a while. Franziska booked our bus trip to Bulls departing 0815 tomorrow morning so we will be away by 0745 (by taxi, of course!).
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"!!