Day 33 – Back on the Pub Track

We started out early getting a ride to the post office to get rid of our bounce boxes (now three boxes including a beer box filled with stuff). We’ve shipped these on to Wellington now so we won’t have to deal with them again for awhile. Finishing up at the post office we actually had to back track a little to get to the house and start hiking from there. We gathered all of our things and hefted our full packs up for the first time in three days. The trail continued on the cycleway all the way into Hamilton. It was a very nice route and we had just enough cloud coverage to be enjoying being outside and hiking again. We detoured into the city to stop at Bivouac (a kind of local REI) and a few new pieces of clothing that we needed. The guy in the store kept commenting that we were very late and we were never sure if he meant in the day or season. We also headed back to a bakery that we’d visited on our first run through town for lunch. We continued to move out of Hamilton along nice walkway and gradually climbed through a residential neighborhood and towards the arboretum. The trail didn’t actually go through the arboretum so we took a quick detour to walk through, there were literally hundreds of hens milling about making loud noises. We also passed a marker for ~800km complete which was cool. Heather had been looking forward to singing the I’ve walked five hundred miles song for sometime and felt that this was an appropriate enough occasion. After the arboretum we crossed into some farm land and had a really strange encounter with a large pack of deer. We walked away with them just staring at us.

We had some really ominous views of Pirongia Mountain over a lot of the farm track. It’s about 950m high and will be our largest summit by far yet. We’ll be climbing it in the next day or so and it looked like it had a constant cloud over it. Farm track is always a ton of fun. Heather really enjoys the uneven climbing, I managed to stick my shoe and sock in some boggy cow poo, and we encountered the usual barage of closed gates, misleading signs and electric fences. We made it to our next stop at Whatawhata in late afternoon and got a great spot camping behind the bar here (yes another pub and another delicious burger with a few beers). My ankle is stressed but not too swollen and didn’t hurt while hiking. It feels good to be back on the move again and finally through the Hamilton region (our next real city is Wellington, real city meaning where we shipped our bounce box to in this case).

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