I had a good sleep and was rearing to go. Today I was not sure if I would make it to Taumaranui and decided to just take it easy and see what happened. Phil and Angie left and I waited 15 minutes to make sure they would get well ahead. I didn't want my competitive streak having me try to catch them as I wanted to go easy.
It was misty so I was taking heaps of photos trying to capture the atmosphere and the vivid Green of the trees in the mist but the camera wasn't reflecting what I could see.
The trail follows the ridge and the was surprisingly little ups and downs. I thought the trail was rougher than yesterday and the were more boggy bits. This is not what I expected as the sign had said 2 hours for the 7 km which to me indicates a good track. The track then started dropping and there were some slippery scrambles down.
Once past the steep bit the trail flattened and the condition improved to a great wide and fast trail and I was able to pick up the pace a little. This track then joined an old vehicle track that was washed out in many places and there were several stream crossings which were good to clean the mud off my shoes. Along this vehicle track was some gorse and cutty has and I end up bleeding from several scratches.
I reached the end of the track 2 hours 15 minutes from the Hut. It is not often I go over a DOC timing.
The trail then followed a gravel road that slowly improved from quad bike access only to 4wd only to eventually a standard gravel road. I was on this until reaching the outskirts of Taumaranui 31 km away. I realised I would make Taumaranui that night and picked up my pace but then my right hip flexor started hurting and then my left shin as well so I dropped the pace right back.
I was taking short breaks frequently and stopped for 20 minutes for lunch. At a little information area Phil and Angie were taking an extended break and I passed them. About this time I had my first view of Mt Ruapehu and I was happy to see there is still snow on it.
With about 5 km to go my feet stayed hurting so I stopped and took my shoes off to survey the damage. I have had little holes on the balls of my feet since Mt Pirongia and grit can get caught up here. I gave my feet a clean and put anti chafe cream on and continued.
There was a Dairy a couple of km short of Taumaranui so I stopped for a chocolate milk and then ate an ice cream while I finished off the walk.
I had decided to spoil myself and had picked up a good deal at the Alexandre Spa Motel but the booking was for tomorrow. The lovely lady at reception, Anne, had no issues with changing the days and I was set up in my lovey room quickly. She was very friendly and helpful and interested in the trail. I am surprised she doesn't get a few more TA trampers. I know most people are on a budget but this is 1/3 of the way which is a good time for a break - and they have a Spa pool here. Another reason I chose this hotel is the location. It is close to the supermarket, cafe, restaurant and takeaways.
I had a long shower and then put my things in the washing machine. This is the first place where washing machine and dryers are free for the guests and the manager even let me use the motel wasing powder.
Once I was presentable I walked to the supermarket which is only a few hundred metres away and socks up fit my rest day with fruit juice, tinned fruit and chips.
I then went to the RSA next door and had a fantastic steak for diner. Then I just relaxed.
Answer : 5