Today – 36km from Whanganui Top 10 holiday park to Koitiata Beach camp
Phew! Big day. Wasn’t sure how today would end up, but my legs did well. Huge day considering I havent been hiking in nearly two weeks with the canoe section, mountain biking and Christmas break.
Left the holiday park around 8am after saying goodbye to my river companions as we all had different plans.
I was continuing onwards with the trail and the others were looking at heading forward to start the next section from Palmy.
Even though some people had been talking about how awful the section from Whanganui to Palmerston North was, I didn’t really pay too much attention and just read up on the notes and maps.
I knew it would be tough no matter what kind of hiking, but at least with a big day of road walking ahead I knew I could probably handle that if my feet were feeling okay after the first few kms.
This morning was a beautiful walk alongside the river into Whanganui, and then heading into State Highway 3 for 20kms.
My aim was a picnic area for lunch about 12km down the road, but I got talking to a farmer at his driveway who offered me a look at his farm and cabin he was building, and so I went for a hour detour into his farm on the back of the quad, learning about maize and harvests and duck season and native tree fencing.
Neil Campbell was awesome, had an amazing hour with him and enjoyed listening to his stories. His family have been on the land since the 1800s. He pointed out some historical sites and was keen to hear all about the trail.
Back on route, I cruised another few kms to the picnic area for some shade, lunch and tent drying.
Deliciously, the tops of my feet which got sunburned in the kayak ,due to being cooped back up in my boots are now peeling. Yum.
Road walking wasn’t so bad today , there was a huge shoulder the majority of the time and lots of people waving to say hi.
The heat was intense and I made good use of my new big sunblock bottle.
I read some trail notes mentioning a cafe, and started to look forward to an ice cream or cold ginger beer.
To my dismay, being holiday season, the shop was shut.
Second prize was a nice shady concrete patch and a gooey snickers so the afternoon was definately looking up.
Valeria [Austria] who I met on the river joined me and we walked the last 8.9km to Koitiata. Battling a massive headwind, Ralph [Swiss] caught up with us and zoomed on, and soon enough we were all in camp.
Beautiful beach but so much wind, we are all tenting in a clump today to hide from the wind.
Had a nice evening with Ralph, Iben and Valeria. Big sleep and tommorrow is either a 30km or my first 40km day, depending on mind, body and spirit.
Good to be walking again!