Big mountain, some rain and a pool.
Hamilton wasn’t as relaxing as I would have hoped but we got a lot of things done and my feet got the rest they needed.
Getting up early is our biggest problem so far. We put our alarm on early with the best intentions but in the morning we snooze and snooze until the early is no longer early and the sun gets hot too fast, and we end up walking until late.
We left Hamilton later in the day, we had to get our DOC hut passes and do our food shopping. Then, just as we left the city centre, we got invited for tea and biscuits by a very kind gentleman who told us about some of the trips he had done and other tampers he had met. That was incredibly nice.
Despite our slow start, we managed to do 22km in the end, leaving us at the last house before a long stretch of mountainous farmlands. We decided to ask there for a grass patch to pitch our tent and were met with a welcoming smile by Lisa. She offered us a shower and all the water we wanted and later her husband Richard came out with two cold beers inviting us to join them for Lisas amazing homemade rhubarb crumble. We were so thankful and happy and there was no way we would say no to that. So we sat inside gorging on our bowls of crumble, sipping cold beer and listening to Richards’s story’s. He shoes horses for a living and Lisa is a vet nurse so we quickly found a common ground. It was a great and unexpected evening. Thank you so much for letting us stay and inviting us in to your lovely home, we will never forget that.
Surprising ourselves, we actually got up early the next morning. It was mostly due to the fact that we were trying to coordinate a meeting with our amazing friends Scott and Cheryl who wanted to meet us on their long weekend. We decided to meet them at the car park before the Porongia Summit climb and stay the night at the camp there. It was a nice slow day as we only had to do 13km in the beautiful farm lands overlooking Hamilton. We also made friends with some cows.
We had lunch by a river at the carpark before Scott and Cheryl arrived. It was very exiting having our friends on our journey. We spent a nice lazy afternoon chatting, swimming in the river and playing cards. Inspired by Cheryl and Scott’s early morning routine we managed to get up at 6am to have an early start the next morning as we did have 900m to climb and we weren’t sure if we were to stay in the hut on the summit that night or continue on. I had prepared myselfe for some serious steep climbing but the track started with an easy incline and it wasn’t until the last 100m when things got really steep. Despite the muddy and rocky clambering we made it to the top in good time. We ate lunch on the lookout platform feeling pretty pleased with our selves but we were facing a difficult decision. I had already decided in my head that I wanted to stay the night with them in the very comfortable, new and fancy hut on the summit but they had work to go back to and Arthur’s voice of reason suggested we carry on as it was still early. After a long debate and some coin flipping we ended up in the hut. We decided it was a good idea when it started pouring shortly after. The rain clouds came and went but we were safe in the hut playing cards eating worms (candy worms!!).
Slowly, the hut filled up with several people of various ages all having made it up to the top, muddy and wet but happy.
Early next morning we said goodbye to Cheryl and Scott and started the descent each on our side of the mountain. (Thanks for sharing our climb with us it was great seeing you again!!)I felt good to start with but quickly got incredibly pissed off as it turned out that instead of going down we were climbing another three summits and every time the track was going down it climbed right back up. I am not sure what was wrong with me but I felt very emotional. After stepping in the mud right up to my knee and hitting my head on a branch I had a little tantrum, I’m really not sure where it came from but it only got worse from there. We got down ok and started our road walk when the first rain hit. It felt like it would go away but it didn’t. Soon we got drenched and we were heading for the forest away from all the houses, away from the chances to get invited in to a warm dry house. It rained all the way until 7pm we had come out to a clearing and decided it was safest to put up our tent now in case the rain would return. Even better, we discovered we had somehow done 30km. My feet looked like an old shrivelled up mushroom and I had gotten chafing and sores all over my body. Dry clothes and a warm meal had never felt better. We fell asleep next to the few hundred sheep that kept ‘baah’ing’ through the night.
It wasn’t nice to put on the wet clothes the next morning but we were going to reach Waitomo and stay at a camp and that was enough to push me forward through the farmlands and forests, wet shoos and all. We got to Waitomo reasonably early and were thrilled to discover that our campsite had a pool. Our clothes got washed and dried, the shoes put out for drying in the sun and I felt like I could finally breathe out. We swam in the cool water and wished we could stay there forever. We finished our evening with a yummy beer and a big burger each.
On our way to Te Kuiti the next morning we got a call from Ben who had returned to Te Kuiti as his foot was sore, so when we finally reached the town he was waiting for us at the library. What a nice surprise. He had missed us and was very happy to re-join us. I mean I don’t blame him, we are pretty cool hehe. We are really happy to re-join him too.
So the plan is for him to rest for a few days here and then meet up with us before we start our long forest walk through to Tamaruni.