Today was the first day of all roads and nothing but roads. All of it less 4 km was on tar seal as well. It was also a day of contrasts with the weather and a day where I met two more wonderful Trail Angels.
I was woken at 0530 by the birds and just snoozed until 0630. It was then into my normal morning routine but I was a little slower than normal, must be out of practice at the river.
I was on my way at 0800 down a gravel road in the forest for 3.5 km. Then due to logging operations on the trail I started the detour which was all sealed road.
It was really hot with the sun out with force and no breeze or shade. I was really feeling the effects and drank most of my water very quickly. I passed a guy and he made a comment which I replied to then he asked the normal "where have you come from, where are you going" questions. He let me know it was only 6 km to Bulls and I said I was glad so I could buy a cold drink. He immediately said I could have a cold drink at his house. I didn't want to put him to any trouble but said it would be great if I could refill my water bottles. So this was the start of some amazing hospitality from Mike and Jean Robinson.
Mike led me around to his house where I met his wife Jean. They offered me tea and I asked for just a water, not wanting to be a bother. Mike filled my water bottles and Jean offered to make some lunch. When I hesitated she asked if I had any timing to meet and when I said no she said I was to stay for lunch and I didn't need asking again as the hiker hunger overrode politeness. As i was now staying for a little while they put my water bottles in the freezer so they would be cold when I left. The three of us talked as she made since sandwiches and this time I said yes to a cup of tea. The sandwiches were delicious and these were followed by a muslea bar, then oranges, apples and bananas and some fantastic fudge that I would pay a lot of money for in a shop as it was exactly how I like my fudge. Along with this fantastic feast was interesting conversation. When it was time to leave they offered me a shower which while tempting I declined knowing I would be sweating as soon as I started walking again. Jean then gave me a handful of fruit leather sticks which are a great idea to try to stave off the fruit craving I have.
Jean and Mike were amazing. They were so giving and generous to a random smelly tramper. Nothing seemed like a bother and they genuinely seemed to want to make life better for a complete stranger. I really enjoyed my time with them. I have decided to save one of the fruit leather strips to Christmas Day when I will think about them and the other amazing people I have met on this adventure.
I left Mike and Jean's house nearly 2 hours late feeling a lot better than I arrived and the rest of the road to Bulls went quickly despite the heat.
I got a thick shake from McDonald's and continued out of town on SH1, across the Bridge over the Rangitikei River and onto quiet backroads. The sun was now covered by clouds buit it was still humid and hot . After about 4 km it started raining so I put on my rain gear but the rain stopped and I was over heating so I took it all back off 5 minutes later. It then continued to rain on and off until 1730 when it started raining continuously and harder so my rain gear went back on and stayed for the next 2.5 hours. Talk about contrasts in weather today. Just as I was approaching Fielding around 1930 it stopped raining. I then started looking fit a campsite and found a stealth campsite under a tree in Kowhai Park (there was no sign saying no camping but I kept a low profile anyway), near the avaries which makes for some interesting sounds to sleep to. I think I can hear a Kea which I will have to check out tomorrow morning.
As I write this my tent is being bombarded by two very large and noisy insects demanding entry into my tent. I had the same last night and I think they are Huhu Beetles.