When sleeping in a shared dorm room there is always the chance to share a room with someone who snores. Last night was possibly the worst snoring I’ve ever heard. It went all night without a break. Even ear plugs were not enough to dull the sound. I started hiking very early, much earlier than I had planned.
When walking out of town Paul and Kathy were leaving at the same time. Roadwalking started our day, first on busy highway 6 then on a very quiet side road, 21km in total. And it was warming up. The bright blue sky and limited shade didn’t slow us down we made good time.
We shared the heat and hiked past the crazy dairy cows when the trail detoured onto dairy farms. Large fenced off areas with irrigated fields and plump dairy cows greeted us. Some of the cows had udders so big they struggled to walk. Looked like they hadn’t been milked in years. One false step and my non waterproof shoe filled with poo. Even my sock was wet. It was a slippery, smelly kind of wet. I was more vigilant in the paddocks.
10am photo below
Right on midday we reached a cafe that was only 100 meters off the trail attached to a campground. Set in a shaded courtyard were picnic tables, fresh water and garbage bins. Inside the cafe it was a thru hikers delight. All types of high calorie baked goods, sugary foods, salads and even food to keep the vegans happy and lots of cold drinks. Twenty dollars later I devoured a large chocolate milkshake, a Steak and Guinness pie and a chicken and salad panini. I could have eaten more. I could have camped there. But we wanted to make some distance. All agreed it was an above average place for lunch, we long for more places like this in New Zealand.
Leaving the town of Havelock I was carrying enough food for 7 days. That’s how long it should take me to hike through the remote and rugged Richmond Ranges section of trail. It promises remote mountains and rivers. But these trails came at the expense of a heavy backpack. I plan to travel this section faster than most hikers. Some are carrying 10-11 days of food for this section. I expect I’ll pass many hikers in the coming days.
Leaving the cafe it was a hot roadwalk for another 12km before veering off onto a hiking trail. Joined by another hiker Cam from New Zealand we detoured on a side trsil to a small stream. The emerald green water cut through the smooth rock. A sandy beach made fir a perfect place to strip off and wash away the sweat. My dislike of cold water had me entering the water very gingerly. Eventually I enjoyed the cool water. Things came to an end quickly when we were discovered. Swarms of sand flies made their attack. These vicious little creatures are the most annoying animal in New Zealand, maybe even the world. They hang around in a cloud and have an annoyingly itchy bite. I recently bought some deet repellent to replace some other non deet one. I hate using deet but I hate sand flies more.
It was late afternoon when we made camp. Captain’s hut was located next to a clear stream that cut through the gorge. There was a nice flat area for tents and the clear skies had me dreaming of a bit a star gazing. 3 other hikers were already there, 7 in total. Cam, Paul, Kathy and I set up our tents. With thousands of little blood sucking monsters outside I was thinking I should have slept in the hut. It took an hour to kill all that entered my tent. But I had an even bigger problem to deal with.