Day 37 – In Heat

We left the Hamilton Tomo Group hut early in an effort to get to the Waitomo General Store Cafe right when it opened at 8. Unfortunately, when we arrived there was a hand written sign saying they weren’t opening until 9. We begrudgingly ate our own breakfast on their deck instead. The rain has subsided today and the sun and humidity were back in full force. We quickly went from being soaked from rain to soaked from our own sweat. After exiting Waitomo we climbed onto some farm track and got our first of many cow encounters for the day. These cows were heffers and making a ton of noise as we walked past. It was quite weird/spooky to have 30+ cows staring at you and moo-screaming. As usual they were standing in some awkward positions for us to try and pass as well. Aside from the farm the trail kept climbing through bushy ridgelines (multiple of these would be in between the various farm parts). The bush track was nice but wet and thick and on one part including a section known as the Te Kuiti Tunnel of Gorse which was rather unpleasant. We did pass through the Pehitawa forest which had some amazing Kahikatea trees. These weren’t quite as tall as some of the redwoods near SF but they were pretty high. The farmland up to this section also had some great views. The day got hotter and we continued to climb up and down farmland. This was pretty tough as the farm track was uneven and the climbs and descents steep. To make it even worse we could see Te Kuiti a lot of the time and the flat highway that led straight into town. We arrived in Te Kuiti around 2pm and immediately went to a cafe for a late lunch. I had a pulled pork bun, mango smoothie, and chocolate brownie and Heather had quiche, polenta fries, and a banana and oat smoothie. It was a big meal but well deserved and necessary. They had outside seating so didn’t seem to mind too much about our smell. We went to New World (groceries) after and picked up enough for what we’re anticipating will be a 7 day carry, so a lot of food. Amusingly we have more food in our 7 day carry now than we had for the 10 day carry at the start of the hike. We decided to keep pushing for another few hours out of Te Kuiti and get a little farther into the next days track. This took us out of the town, past a quarry (both unused and used) and up through a valley alongside a river. We happened on a few benches next to a swing bridge and after scattering the sheep (they scatter themselves to be honest) set up camp for the night. We’ll continue on tomorrow in our effort to push to the Timber Trail.

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