Mercer to Rangariri – 26km (703km total)
Sleeping at a pub was surprisingly better than one would think. The music was out by 10.30pm and I was all tucked up in my tent for the night. It rained over night. So I packed up my stuff in my tent, then took the tent pegs out of the ground and moved my entire tent to the under cover area to dry it out. The pub had a dryer, so a few minute in that and my tent was nice and dry. Yay. Carrying a dry tent is so much lighter than a wet tent.
I then walked across to the MacDonalds for a chai latte after this the good times stopped. The first 3-4 km of the day were through long grass and as it had been raining over night it was incredibly wet. Within one minute of being on the trail, I was as wet as I was the day a rogue wave drenched me. It was also steep and slippery, so I went slowly determined not to fall and I didn’t, though my feet slipped on the mud a few times.
After that not so great beginning, it was a walk along state highway one while the rain bucketed down. Here I met a couple of other hikers who I walked the rest of the day with.
The trail followed Waikato river for the rest of the day. It was mostly good trail, except for a few 1 km sections of long grass and washed away river bank. (All the long grasses have caused some sort of rash on my legs, it will be gone by morning but it adds to my dislike of long grass). At one point as we crossed an inlet, we saw what looked like giant goldfish in the river. Is that possible? They reminded me of the children’s book (by Dr Suess, I think), where a boy keeps feeding his gold fish and he has to keep putting it into bigger tanks, the bath and then the swimming pool. They really were big.
It was then a road walk to the town of Rangriri where the local pie shop owner let people camp in her back paddock. We headed to the pub for a drink and hot chips, where I don’t think the staff are capable of smiling. I’m not sure how they stay in business.
Today I am thankful for dryers and a dry tent.