Day 51 – Row, Row, Row Your Boat

We had a completely dry night last night which was hard to believe. We usually always wake up with condensation and wet grass but this morning was completely dry. No complaints since we needed to roll up the tent and put that away, always easier to do when dry. For breakfast Heather grilled some cheese toasties and added baked beans, an absolute luxury to start the day with. The weather looked pretty good today and we got on the river around 9am, it was about a four hour paddle to Pipikiri where most people exit the river but we would continue on for another two hours to Jerusalem (pretty much only TA hikers continue on to Whanganui adding two and a half days). Once on the river the wind picked up tremendously and we were stuck battling an intense headwind for the full four hours to Pipikiri. There weren’t a whole lot of rapids in this section either so not a lot to give us forward momentum other than our own paddling. We reached Pipikiri after the four hours for a late lunch and feeling exhausted headed back out into the wind for another two hours to Jerusalem. The stop here was scarcely marked and involved clambering up a steep and slippery mud bank and then pulling our canoe up the same bank. You could certainly tell that you’re off the Great Walk and back on the just TA hikers section. We’d been told to stay with nuns in Jerusalem so when we hiked our barrels of gear up to the road and saw a letter box with “Sisters” engraved on the side we walked up and found the Sisters of Compassion church and meeting house. There was a small gathering going on for the weekend and they were extremely friendly. They let us pitch a tent in the yard and even invited us in to eat and drink with them. It was a really nice little spot with plenty of room and a small library/office that we spent the evening in reading and staying warm (it’s been getting really cold at night despite being boiling during the day). Apparently it’s quite common for people to come stay here and visit as a family stopped by for a picnic dinner on their drive home and there were a couple of cyclists spending the night as well.

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