Day 63 was spent in Palmerston catching up on things and working out the next stretch into the Tararua Ranges. It is a 5-6 day stretch between resupplies, but the ranges are the highest yet and the weather can often turn forcing people to wait in huts up on the ranges. Therefore it is recommended that at least a weeks worth of food is taken. This equals an incredibly heavy bag.
Palmerston North to Toko Corner Rd – 27km (1493km total)
With only 27km to do to the next campsite, I decided to have a lazy morning. I slept in, had breakfast, packed up and then went and visited a church, so it was close to midday before I left Palmerston North.
The initial walk back along the river and over the river out of Palmerston was standard road walking, but then the trail went onto back roads and the walking became a whole lot nicer.
The trail eventually came to an area designated for mountain biking with a network of trails. It was here the trail went back onto a track and was lovely to walk on alongside a stream. At this point the trail also passes the official 1500km sign (the track is always being rerouted each year, so is about 15km off this year) but it was still pretty exciting to pass an official sign saying we had done half the trail. I went a little crazy with a photo shoot at the sign. What can I say it is an exciting landmark.
As I was walking on the bike tracks a father and son who were biking asked if I was doing the trail and when I replied ‘Yes’, they said ‘that’s awesome’. As I walked off, I reflected actually I am awesome. I have walked half the length of a country, that is awesome! How many people can say that!
By the time I finished my photo shoot at the sign it was close to 6pm and there was still 5km to go to the campsite, so I hightailed it to the campsite. Where I set up camp in the wind, which is not a good sign for the mountains to come. If it is windy down here, imagine what it is like on the ridge lines to come 😬.
Today I am thankful for milestones.