We had a surprise down pouring of rain last night that came very unexpected and was quite heavy. Thankfully we’d already put the rainfly and all of our stuff was under cover. We had been debating keeping the rainfly off as it had seemed so nice so this was pretty lucky. I couldn’t have imagined anything worse than having to get back on the road with soaking wet shoes.
The rain had stopped by morning and thankfully we wasn’t forecast for the rest of the day either. Our tent was actually able to even dry out a little in the morning sun while we ate breakfast. We knew we had a 40km road day ahead of us but thankfully the first 8km would lead us into Whanganui where we would be able to get a second breakfast.
After browsing around the main street we found a nice place to stop and enjoyed a customary pie, chocolate baked good, and thick shake. Feeling very satisfied and after resupplying at the grocery store (we only really need a dinner or two and breakfast since we’re going through towns for a few days), we finally got on with the day’s hike.
It started out pretty pleasant following the left hand side of the river out of town but quickly turned into the hard shoulder of one of New Zealand’s major highways. The walking wasn’t too difficult and the weather held fine (not to sunny, good breeze and some cloud coverage) but it was 18km on this long road with barely anyroom to walk on the side and huge tracks barrelling past. The TA Trust definitely needs to get a workaround for this section soon.
Road walking is really tough on your legs, especially after the break we’ve had. By the end of this section my swelling was back up in my ankle/shin and Heather’s muscles felt like concrete rods about to snap. There’s also nothing else to think about other than the pain you’re feeling. That being said neither of us have yet made the comment that we wish we were back in a boat. It did feel good to be covering a good amount of distance as well. We finished up with an 8.5km hike to a small ocean town where we’re camping tonight. Tomorrow we’re on beach for the first part so hopefully that will help loosen up our legs.
We also saw the other American couple in the trail log here (I mentioned two days ago they were about 7 days ahead of us). They’d signed it only 4 days ago for this campsite so we’re now utterly confused as to where they are. We are camping next to two guys we met before Hamilton so it’s nice to see we’re moving at about the same pace as some people (although they hitched the highway section today).