If the weather gods are on my side I’ll be canoeing the Whanganui river next week. It’s part of the Te Araroa Trail. Yes, a 150km canoe trip is the trail. Prior to renting a canoe I needed to attend a safety briefing. That how I found myself with freshly made coffee, hot bread and pizza. It’s all part of the canoe safety brief.
I said goodbye to Michelle, Reece and Micheal. They are taking a slight detour from the Te Araroa trail by canoeing for a full 8 days all the way to the west coast town of Whanganui. Meanwhile, I set off alone to follow the trail for another 175km before also jumping in a canoe for a further 150km to head to the coast.
Although the weather was nice in the morning, the forecast was looking grim. Rain showers, sometimes heavy followed by a cold wet storm front moving up from Antarctica. In recent days I’ve been assessing and reassessing the weather charts and forecasts. I have some potentially impassable river crossings and an alpine crossing coming up. I was confident in my plan and even more confident in my bail out options if things got real bad. I was carrying extra food, just in case. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
10am photo below
I wanted to hike as far as I could today to beat the weather and get as close as I could to the river crossing that could rise quickly in stormy weather. Roadwalking as usual but luckily on quiet roads. I saw only a couple of vehicles all day. To pass the time alone I zoned out by listening to audiobooks.
I prefer to hike with others but if I end up solo I’m very comfortable being alone. I like my own company.
It was after midday when I turned off the roads onto a 4×4 track called the 42 traverse. The narrow rough trail that crosses several streams and is narrow in places. I don’t think I’ll see too many Toyotas up here.
It wasn’t long before the rain came. With no wind and warm temperatures I used my umbrella to shield me from the weather. As the day progressed the rain showers were stronger and lasted longer. It was not heavy enough to make any rivers rise too much but I must admit it was weighing on my mind.
With daylight running out I set up camp next to the trail. With little space for a tent anywhere, I set up and hoped nobody came along. And then the rain started. As the birds stopped calling for the night, the rain still continued. Please don’t rain all night, I thought.