Between Whanganui and the Tararuas we had a relaxed section to get back into the trail rhythm. First, we had a long thought about what to do with the stretch to Palmerston North. It consists of 100km almost purely on the road, mostly asphalted. Unpleasant memories of how our feet used to cope with this surfaced to our memory.
Too stubborn to quit on such a large portion of the trail we decided to rent bicycles. Jörg and Marylene joined in too, Serina took the long way on foot. So for the first time since the 90 mile beach, we parted ways.
I was surprised to see that as untrained hikers and with our big packs on our backs we made it to Palmerston in an easy 1,5 days. I guess the trail must have left a serious effect on our physical stamina. See nice to see all that paved road rolling by – and as long as we move forward using our own manpower it’s alright – right!
So when we finally had our first day on foot it came as a by of a shock. It had been 2 weeks since we had had a proper day of hiking. Everything just felt so awkward: our shoes, our packs, our poles, and not the least our feet themselves. Blisters wielded as skin needed to harden up again.
Luckily the trails were wonderful. They ran through beautiful forests, some of the last we’ll have before crossing the Cook Street, and we tried to enjoy them as much as possible. It became so apparent now that the forests have changed throughout the country: from the dense, northern forests with giant Kauris towered mighty above the bush, the majestic Totara on the hills, to the elegant and narrow Kahikatea in the central north and the spacious forests with big Rimu we pass now. I’m sure we’re going to miss them in the endless tussock countries ahead.
As a little extra we passed the halfway mark on the Burrtons’s track, we almost couldn’t believe it. There we stood, halfway between the Cape and he Bluff! The next day we had our first glimp of he South Island from Archey’s lookout, can’t wait to get there.
It’s also been the first days since the Ninety Mile Beach that PJ and I have been walking by ourselves and this was very cosy. We did think back about a lot of the moments we shared with Serina and smiled. We thought about the compiling of our first hit album as the ‘Happy Hiker’s Club’ with several excellent singles such as:
– Burgers for Breakfast
– Happy Hikers with Angry Feet
– Shower Power
– The Austrian
– Second Hand Sporks
– Life’s too Short for Shaving
– Proper People Pass out at Eight
– Boardwalks to Nowhere
– Even the Sheep look Miserable
– Les Croissants, Les Croissants
All compository suggestions are by the way welcomed!
And on a final note: a big huge thank you to everyone who has voted in the photo competition – I won! Amazing to see so many of you have supported. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
– by Eef De Boeck