Day 49 was a day off in Taumarunui which was spent relaxing and organizing the canoe section of the trail which is coming up after the next leg.
Taumarunui to Whakapapa River – 28km (1060km total)
The day started with a chai latte before I walked out of town. When the day begins with chai it is destined to be good. Although I wasn’t looking forward to it, as it was road walking all day 😭. However, it was actually pleasant road walking.
The first 10km went by quickly as I listen to new music that I had downloaded and took advantage of reception as I walked out of town to message people I hadn’t seen in a while.
As I walked along, I saw an ostrich in a paddock. So of course I had to take a photo. I got close to the fence and was snapping away, when it got really close and I didn’t like the look in its eye. So as its beady head came towards me in a flurry, I jumped away from the fence with a weird shriek.
The next 10km until lunch went a bit slower, but were still pleasant as the road turned into a gravel one with no traffic. Then after lunch as I was walking towards the town of Owhango a mountain with snow and the volcano that was use for Mt Doom came into view and I audibly gasped. I wasn’t expecting to see those mountains so soon and it awed me. I am heading there in the next few days to do the Tongariro Crossing and now I am even more excited for the crossing.
As we were walking out of Owhango, there was a sign up saying trail magic for TA hikers. A couple that had hiked the trail two years ago, had just bought a house along the trail and set up chairs and a cooler of drinks, lollies and biscuits for hikers. We sat and hung out for a bit and chatted to the owners, before doing the last stretch to camp for the night.
Camp tonight is along Whakapapa River and a beautiful spot to camp. There was also a local swimming spot in the river that locals go to. After getting into camp and setting up. I went back to the swimming spot and went for a quick dip. It was cold but refreshing. However, I did not join the locals, who were climbing up the rivers edge and jumping in. A quick splash was enough for me.
Today I am thankful for camping spots along rivers and a day that was nice, when by all accounts it should have been a boring road walk.