TA Day 29 – Back to the Pub

Today – 35.4km From Drury to Mercer

Total – 677.4km

Okay okay, I know your all wondering where days 25-28 plus a good 50km went.

After arriving in Auckland I spent a few days with my partner Tom and family, and having some r & r and deciding how to tackle Auckland.

After the weather decided to completely crap out I decided to enjoy another day of rest and put on hold the roughly 55km left of Auckland to do. My aim is to complete it when I’m back home for some days around xmas.

This morn I ferried, trained and, bussed to Drury in South Auckland and began the trek south into Waikato.

It was roads roads roads today but some pleasant fast km to get my body moving after 4[!] Rest days.

Saw a whole field of baby cows. Was feeling good but the sun was really intense so covered up well and was vigilant on the sunblock today.

The section of the Hunua Ranges that hikers used to go through are closed so walkers now follow a selection of roads south until SH2 then the Mangatawhiri track and then pop out in Mercer.

I steamed along then had lunch before the 3km stretch on SH2.

Luckily the shoulder was really wide. Usually I would default walk on the right hand side of the road to be seen to incoming traffic but the shoulder was so much bigger on the left that I spent most of the time there. Until i crossed to the right and thought it would be better to follow the fenceline where it looked like nice walking grass further from the road. It was not. I had a battle with a gorse bush and 40 scratches later I emerged on SH2 only a mere 200m further ahead.

Glad to be off the road and on the track , I had a break before heading on. You cant tell from the picture but my legs had many scratches.

The track is on a stopbank and makes for beautiful views but you spend the whole time looking at your feet because it’s real ankle rolling territory.

Speaking of which, I somehow have a partly swollen outer left ankle, and I cannot remember rolling or twisting it at all and it’s not sore. So we will see.

Camped tonight at Podges Place in Mercer, the local pub/motel and couldn’t be happier. They had a Friday night $5 bbq on and washed it down with the local waikato draught.

Thanks to the amazing Sandra & Podge. Amazing that they have hikers every night and let them camp and shower. Awesome hosts .

Pretty tired after a big first day back into it, sun was boiling and now after a feed and a beer am ready for bed!

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