Last night was nice and warm for a change. I woke early this morning and as I was laying there I got a visit from a curious deer. I stayed still for a while but as soon as I moved it took off.
I was on the road at 0745 continuing on the 42nd Traverse gravel/dirt road. There were some nice views in the more open bits and lots of birds. At one stage I saw a puff of smoke around the corner and was puzzled on what this could be. As I came around the corner I saw it was little Waxeye birds landing on Toi Toi fronds which released a puff of pollen.
It seemed to take longer than I expected to reach Waione River. I wanted to keep my feet dry a little longer so I took my shoes off and crossed. It was really cold. After drying my feet and putting my shoes back on I was off.
I saw a track to the left which I thought looked right on my map but there were no markers and there had been TA stickers at the main junctions so I thought there would be a mark of some kind to say which track to take.
I continued along the valley crossing two streams before checking my map again and realising i was way past where the track should be. I checked the more detailed map on my phone and saw I could take a secondary track to cut across and join the proper track.
I headed back the way I had come and met Dan Slattery from USA. I explained what had happened and what I was going to do and he decided to turn back as well. I got to the shortcut track but it was overgrown so I decided to head back to the right junction. Once there I scratched TA and an arrow in the ground so hopefully others don't make the same mistake.
Now that we were on the right track we were away. I kept the pace easy and we made steady progress stopping for lunch along the way. After 10 km on the track there was a great marker for TA trail and 10 km sign. If only there was something like this at the junction where it is actually needed. The was another maker at the 11 km mark. The track went through some boggy patches and some steep slippery ups and downs but was generally ok.
We then arrived at a sealed road and took this past the Outdoor Pursuits Centre. At this stage it started raining harder than the light misty drizzle that had been on and off for the last two hours. With rain grear on we turned left onto a very overgrown track which meant I got even more soaked as I pushed through the bushes and trees. After 500m we reached the junction and I did a 1100 km photo before turning right onto a slightly less overgrown track.
Dan was a nice walking companion. There was occasional conversation but not constant chatter and when he was in front the pace was good. Also he seemed happy with my break schedule, not that I took many, just one snack stop and lunch.
It was then a 6 km road walk which seemed to take ages. I had to keep my pace easy to stop my niggles from reappearing and I told Dan to go ahead as he was faster than me. Finally we reached the Tongariro Crossing endpoint and within 30 minutes it was empty of people. We had dinner to which Dan generously donated some water to me as I didn't have enough and expected there to be a tap at the car park. After dinner Dan decided to push on while I opted to camp under the waiting area shelter so I could keep my tent dry as I expected it to rain during the night. It is no camping in the car park but it is also no camping anywhere within 500 metres of a Great Walk which the crossing was. I figured I was having less impact putting my sleeping bag on a wood platform than pitching my tent.
Answer : Toi Toi Frond