Returning to the Trail

Day 28

Janet and David fed me breakfast and drove me to my starting point. I could start anywhere, but planned to start about 8 kms outside of Hamilton, meaning I would walk first towards Hamilton, through the city center, out the other side and then onto Ngāruawāhia, the planned stop for the night. This somewhat convoluted plan had been concocted to allow for a more balanced day when I leave Hamilton and head South in about 8 months (for the start of section 2 being Hamilton to Wellington). At least, this is the theory.

After being away from the trail for almost 3 months, it is now time to return and complete the section from Hamilton to Auckland-ish. Typically I walk South bound (SOBO), but for the next 5 days I will be going North Bound (NOBO). I spent the night near Hamilton with family and Caroline will join me at Auckland Airport, so going NOBO makes more sense. I also am dabbling with a more Ultralight approach, swapping my trusty mid-weight boots for trail runners and heavy wet weather gear for a lighter version. This only shaves about a kilogram off my total weight, but why not. The 10 day forecast calls for no rain, but still smart to carry wet weather clothing.

So, I started at the Taitua Arboretum on the eastern side of Hamilton. A nice trail into town, first over classic Waikato farmlands and then onto the city roads of Hamilton. Stopped briefly at the central Hamilton Starbucks to pickup a coffee and muffin, before joining the Riverside (Te Awa) Walk back out of town. It was a day on well formed paths and this helped ease me back into long distance walking. I stopped at a picnic stop along the Waikato River for lunch, which was very pleasant. Watched a farmer and his combine harvester clear out a field of maize. I was taking it a little easy, as it was hot. No cloud cover in the morning, and barely any in the afternoon. I managed to drink 3 liters of water during the 7 hours or hiking. I pulled into Ngāruawāhia around 3pm and headed straight for the “Shop and Save” for a sugar hit. Could not decide if I wanted Fanta or L&P, so decided to buy both and downed them in short order.

The night before I arranged to stay with a Trail Angel, and made my way slightly out of town to find her place and where I would spend the night. This would be the first real Trail Angel I had stayed with, and was not entirely sure what to expect. She came highly recommended from Ruth and Elliot, so I had high expectations. And I was not disappointed.

After setting up my tent and having a shower, I jumped into the cooling waters of the pool. So nice after a long hot day. Also staying with the Angel were three WWOOFers, all from the United States. The conversation flowed and it was not long before I was invited to dinner with the host family and the WWOOFers. Dinner was fried tofu with a vegetable stir fry and dessert was a Crumble made from various fruits including rhubarb served with home made ice-cream. Amazing. During dinner we agreed to walk into the forest after dark and see the glow-worms, and that was quite the treat. I fell asleep to bird sound and the occasional train passing. Not a bad way to restart on the trail.

The start of the trail. Good to be back on Te Araroa.
Just a random picture of a small car on a pole.
Triple choc muffin (warmed up) and latte.
Te Awa path along the Waikato river. Used mainly be people on e-bikes.
Foot bridge over the river. They have gone to quite some effort on this path.
Home to the Māori King Movement, called the Kīngitanga. This is where Māori Iwi (tribes) organized themselves against the Pākehā (Europeans) as a way of halting the alienation of Māori land.
Trail Angel provided meal. Super yummy.
Glow worms!