I was woken by my alarm this morning which is unusual as I have normally been waking up unassisted. It must be the comfortable bed and feeling relaxed. I went to the kitchen to have some cereal and Patrica was just coming back from the shops with milk. She offered some poached eggs which I couldn't say no to and then offered bacon as well. I ate my cereal and drank my cappuccino while she worked in the kitchen and then she preserved me with a masterpiece of 2 pieces of thick toast with a very generous helping of bacon, 2 farm fresh poached eggs, a lovely sauce and a light sprinkle of pepper. I challenge the best cafe to try and produce something that looks and tastes as good. Then while we were talking Patrica made me some sandwiches and packaged the leftover of last night's pizza. I find it amazing that Patrica is so giving and genterous and doesn't think she is doing anything special. After that magnificent breakfast I finished packing and reluctantly said my goodbye. Patrica and Clement have been amazing in their hospitality to a smelly stay hiker and I really hope we keep in touch as they are great people.
I walked back around the lake to where I left the trail and was on the streets for a short walk to the Dinsdale shopping centre. It was lovely blue sky when I started but 5 minutes later the grey clouds rolled over and then there was light rain which I kept off with my umbrella. That lasted a couple of minutes and then it cleared.
For some reason my knees were a little sore today and my right shin was also a little sore. The only thing I can put it down to is my new inner soles.
Just as I got to Dinsdale it stated raining heavily but I was able to shelter under the shop awnings. I went to the Post Office and mailed some stuff back to my parents to look after. It is mainly things I had included in my resupply parcels that I did not need. I then went to the supermarket to buy lunches and snacks for the next 4 days.
I finally left at 1130. After 1.5 km I was on Tills Lookout which I had never been to desite Hamilton being my old city (though in my defence I lived 30 minutes outside the city). There were nice views of the city. Then 10 minutes later I reached the Taitua Arboretum. This was another thing I didn't know existed. It was a large piece of land where different trees were planted. There were nice gravel paths and good maps and signs showing where the different types of trees were.
Just as I got to the end it started raining harder again but conveniently there was a shelter to take cover under. I was joined by a guy with two Chocolate Labradors who were very interested in my snacks. He was a Hunter and we talked abut packs and gear. He usually carries a 90 Litre pack!
When the rain stopped I left and there was 1.5 km of road walking and then onto a trail through farmland up and down many little hills. It was near the end of that I realised I had missed another 100 km milestone so I did a photo for 804 km.
After the farm trail there was 3 km of road walking that went quickly and I was in Whatawhata. Now I was really on familiar ground as I drove past here thousands of times when I was in high school. I grabbed a fruit juice from the service station and sat to eat the sandwiches Patrica had made. They were delicious and very filing.
After crossing the Bridge over the Waipa River there was a trail beside the river. It started out in trees then came out onto farmland. There was one herd of Heifers who were very friendly and really crowding me on all sides. When I stayed waking again they were right on my heels. Obviously the memory of the farmer feeding them as calves was still strong.
The trail ducked back onto the road to cross a steam by the road bridge then back into the fields but now there was very long grass to get through. Then I crossed into a field growing something and it was really hard work making progress around the edges.
It was then up Old Mountain Road for 4 km to the start of the Kapamahumga Walkway. It was in this Walkway, though heading north not South, that I first got the spark about how tramping the whole country would be cool (see my very first blog for more on this). it was neat to see some of the old NZ Walkway signs were still there. The trail followed the ridgeline through farmland with spectacular views over Hamilton and the surrounding farmland. The only bad thing was the wind was freezing and I had to zip my top up and put my sleeves down which I don't do often.
Once we came off the ridge line the trail entered a patch of bush for the descent and I found a nice campsite for the night.
I ate the last of the Pizza for diner with some Biltong I was really happy to find in the supermarket followed by fruit leather.
All it takes is a full stomach, cosy tent and knowing you have achieved some interesting km to be happy.