Pakari Holiday Park to Farmers Camp Waiwhiu – 28km – (496km total)
As I lay in my tent writing this I am absolutely shattered. 28km seems like an easy day until you throw in elevation and mud and tree roots. All of that results in a very long day.
The morning started out easy. A road walk to Pakari for a few kms and then the climbing began. 350m straight up a farmers field within 2km. I’m slow on inclines and muddy/rooty terrain, so I forged ahead knowing that the others would soon over take me and they did. So imagine my surprise when I was the third person out of 8 at the summit. The others had somehow got off track and taken a good 20 minute detour, which resulted in me passing them.
The first bit of the track was very muddy and I took my 8th fall (I think that is right, I need to go back and count). Moments before I was thinking how great it was that I hadn’t fallen in the mud and then I slipped like the uncoordinated baby giraffe that I am.
The rest of the day was really great forest walking, but between the occasional mud, elevation and lots of tree roots. I got progressively tired and my enjoyment waned as my tiredness increased. The goal was to make it to the Top of the Dome Cafe by 4.30pm when they stopped serving. With 3.5km left I thought I had it in the bag, but it was the longest 3.5km of my life. I eventually made it to the top of the dome at 4.14pm and thought I could make it the 1.5km to the cafe in 15 mins. I mean if you’ve made it to the summit its all down hill from there right? Well, it was down past giant rocks that I had to climb down, or more correctly, butt scoot down. Then the trail went up again, before finally going down. However, thankfully one of they guys had made it to the cafe in time and sent a message. I sent one back saying I was 15 minutes away and to order me any or all of a coke, a strawberry milkshake and cheesecake, depending on what they had. They had it all. (Well the coke was a Pepsi, but I’m not complaining at this point). I finally got to the cafe at 4.50pm where all the above was waiting for me, Absolute bliss.
After putting myself into a sugar coma. It was a 2km walk to a campsite a farmer had set up. We all dragged ourselves up that final hill, put up tents and laid down in them. No one is moving from their tent until morning.
Today, I am thankful for cafe food and friends who order it for me because I’m a slow poke.