326kms to Wellington on the Te Araroa Trail; so close, so far. We’ve walked 1374kms without too many issues but we are finding our bodies these last few kms require a little more nurturing. Physically, psychologically. The trail now encompasses many more roads with some busy highways and heavy rain accompanies our journey.
Whanganui Youth Hostel provided hospitality and respite from the trail. A chance to rest and allow John’s feet to heal; blisters and recurrent foot pain. We are determined to finish in Wellington but our trail maybe modified to allow for ease in daily kms walked and where accommodation provides shelter from expected heavy rainfalls.
Notes from the trail – diary : Whanganui to Bulls via Marton.
326 kms to go. So close, so far.
How will my knees fare? They are tired. Will John’s blisters heal by tomorrow or the next? Will his foot, giving grief for so long, be rested enough for continuing?
Will the bad weather predicted for the coming weekend and into next week cause consternation?
We face the uncertainty? We drink coffee!
This trail; Te Araroa, Aeoteoroa, this long pathway trail is certainly ‘not a walk in the park’.
Weather: hot cold wet windy misty.
Track conditions rough, demanding, smooth. Hills, mountains, rivers, streams, beaches, farmland, roads and more roads; sealed, unsealed, dusty, rocky.
We’ve been blessed so far. Solutions to issues have always presented themselves when we’ve gone looking for them. We are looking now and considering options.
Meanwhile we drink coffee.
Notes from the trail – diary : Bulls to Fielding
It rained most of the walk down back country roads from Bulls to Fielding ; more heavily the last 6kms which did not stop us lunching beneath large trees on the side of the road that provided a modicum of shelter as we ate avocado, red capsicum and vita wheat cracked pepper biscuits with cream cheese. Hardly noticed the large drips from between the overhead leaves or the spray from occasional cars tearing round the country road. The countryside is lush and green over rolling and folding landforms. Mostly cattle farms with some sheep. Inquisitive bulls rushed then gathered along a fence to stare our progress. They didn’t like my singing. They took off somewhat startled. What a laugh we had.
Mt Lees Reserve. Beautiful little park with a small rotunda with a seat. Morning coffee, boil the billy, serve with choc biscuits beneath the wonderful large oak and other deciduous trees. Three geese entertained.
Second beautiful thing of the day
The first was a cuddle.
Despite the rain, we enjoyed this day’s walk. We talked the walk with future plans.
Bridge Motor Lodge and Caravan Park
I am distracted I am hot Humidity, rain And more rain is promised
Bulls A motor lodge A cabin No frills No utensils in the kitchen But pots and crockery A stove top And an assortment of dilapidated microwaves
We ate We ate well Especially silverbeet Bulls supermarket was vegetable depleted But it had silverbeet
We indulged a plateful each with tuna and rice and vegetables And potatoes with sour cream We ate with relish Not the pickle variety but with gusto We were hungry after our day’s walk in the rain
It is hot and humid in this camper’s lounge. With a tv that sports the rugby Between the Blues and Highlander’s Thank goodness for the rugby Saturday TV is a reduced affair peppered with adverts that are excruciating
So I read, with an eye on the game C’mon Highlander’s at Blues Eden Park They won
One could feel sad, or down In this nondescript place away from comfort Homesick, which we are, but we are not sad or down We have nice wine and each other And a purpose
Enroute to Wellington
We are troopers of the highest calibre Determined, dogged To complete this North Island Te Araroa trail
We will take some alternative routes With shorter daily distances To encompass sore feet But determination will get us there nonetheless
1434kms on this TA trail…266 to go!
I can see Wellington Close to John’s birthday on the 26th And Kate and Chris and my cousin Julia
Then it’s Nelson Where John’s sisters and friends await. Nelson, my home town
John is planning John has been awesome in planning This journey of journeys This epic journey
John writes, with downloaded maps and the maps.me app Our projected schedule As I while my time With a book half heartedly read, sudoku, the rugby and these recordings
Just notes recording this slow or drab wet day A day In amongst days of highlights But included nonetheless With gratitude
Not many drab days This must be a first However we are not in a tent On this wet wet day But In a cabin in a bed that is clean With power points to charge batteries
Much of Northland is experiencing Unprecedented rain with massive flooding
Areas we’ve walked through and enjoyed on our Te Araroa travel.
Palmerston North appears on the horizon 2 days away Where cousins await to greet and shelter our while We look forward to kind hospitality Familial and precious
Notes from The Trail: Palmerston North jottings
Features wall paraphernalia Che Guevara Fidel Castro. The draped Cuban flag. ‘Havana Splendid’ And posters advertising ‘impossibly gorgeous dancers’ Maximo de Cuba
I ponder Over good coffee. Memories of our Cuban experience, two years ago, On this wet, wet Palmerston North morning. This cafe harbour In the Square of the city On our Te Araroa trail
Reading the Dominion Amidst savoury scone crumbs Of ‘released secret US files of prime minister Muldoon’ Of a ‘frustrated country filled with testosterone fueled working class men…’ ‘Muldoon’s weakness for the rude retort gets him in trouble with some New Zealanders’ so too, says the report
Of a mighty fine tribute to Murray Ball Cartoonist extraordinaire humanitarian Provider of backdrop political satire In our ‘growing up years’ in 1970’s NZ Creator of Dog and Wal Footrot Flats and so much more
Of ‘The Value of positive failure’ says another article Each failure a step closer to success The benefits are far reaching It’s the positive learning from the demise of failure Spurring
Depends on your mental alacrity I think Failure or a succession of failure, is crushing for some So too, physical weariness Physical breakdown Life-knocks Worn, fatigued Age can bring hesitation Easier to live with mediocrity
Choices. Age can also recognise The dictum ‘use it or lose it’ Engaging in New. Breathes oxygen into sedentary comfortableness. To live life Fully Embracing new challenges
Despite perceived ‘failure’
Youthfulness is not just for the young But the for the young-in-learning Anew Renewing New skills perchance Continuing a life long learning of life upon life
Brings colour to the cheeks and a spark to the eyes To ‘talk the walk’ Conversation, discussion Connection An attitude that breathes deeply Of life lived In fullness Engagement
At Cafe Cuba The coffee was good The generous sized muffin and scone delicious The decor a little memory trip And the Wellington ‘rag’ More food for thought More jottings on the trail In this refuge from the rain On the corner of Cuba & George ‘In Palmy’ so say the locals.
What a pleasure to stay with cousins Chrissie and Jeff who have welcomed us into their home. Also to have cousins Judy and John Bark travel from Havelock North to spend a day with us, means a great deal.
Without NZ family and friends to connect with, we realise our epic journey would be a much harder journey.
Spending weeks alone travelling the length of the North Island has drawn much to our attention; particularly that our lives are enriched by the love of family and friends. We knew this at the onset but distance reinforces the deeper meaning of what is important in life.
Tomorrow we head to Back Track and Burtons Track and camping under the stars. The weather man promises sunshine! We’re reached 1498kms…we pass 1500kms tomorrow! 200 kms to Wellington.