Today I went back to my routine times and after a very noisy dawn chorus just after 5 woke properly at 0630 and was walking out of camp at 0730. At 0740 I was back at the trail where I left it.
The track climbed steadily for the first few km but the gradient was so gentle it barely felt like climbing. The trail continued to be easy to walk on and the views great. I was feeling good and caught up to Joe and Paula at a beautiful picnic spot.
I then carried on until Davis Bay. There was hardly anyone on the trail and today 4 mountain bikers to add to the three I saw yesterday which is way less than I was expecting to see. I must have timed it right with everyone still recovering from New Years keeping the trail nice and empty.
At Davis Bay I realised I should have pushed on two more hours yesterday because this was the campsite I was expecting on this trip. Camping right on the waters edge. Never mind.
Once through Anakiwa there was a track below the road and above the sea for while and then a gravel track beside the road. Unfortunately this ended one km into the walk on the main road so that left 2.5 km on the road in the blazing sun. There was a holiday park and I went in to see if they had ice cream but no luck. Just some fizzy drinks that I don't like when walking. Thankfully there was a service station just short of Mahakipawa Arm so I was able to get an ice cream and drink.
It was then 2.5 km road walking on a narrow winding road but luckily the views were great and the traffic considerate where they could. On some of the corners I went right off the road when I heard a car as there was no way they could see me in time to give me room otherwise.
There was a short section of bush track and then more road walk to Mahakipawa Hill Scenic Reserve. I had seen this hill and the track up it from a long way off and unlike usual this track did not appear easier the closer I got.
For my mutton head challenge of the day I decided I would go all the way up without stopping. That was a great thing to say from the bottom but was not so fun as I went up. I started by thinking it was not too bad but the steepness was consistent and the sun hot with no shade. Within 5 minutes I was drenched in sweat and getting annoyed with it running into my eyes. There were several false summits and every time after turning the corner to see more up I had to tell myself I was nearly there and not to stop, as well as telling myself how stupid this no stopping challenge was in this heat. It was a 400m climb in just 1300 meters!
Eventually I reached the top and I was surprised that it had only taken 17 minutes as it felt much longer but I succeeded in my challenge and didn't stop all the way up. My legs and arms (from pulling myself up with walking poles) felt like jelly but after a quick drink I felt good again. I spied a TV Mast further up the hill so I decided to keep going up to see if that was the top but it was surrounded by gorse and there were no views so I came back down. With the fitness I have now recovery is really quick and the climb up to the TV tower felt like I was just starting to climb.
The track headed straight over the hill following the powerlines down. I was much slower going down taking my time. I know some people will bound down that hill but with the punishment I gave my knees when I was younger I know I would suffer if I tried. There were a couple of bits where I couldn't use my walking poles and it really highlighted how much pressure they do take off my knees going downhill.
At the bottom it was a short walk to Havelock. Though it was still early there was no reason to push on as it was half a day to Pelorus and it is unlikely my resupply parcel will arrive before tomorrow.
I had heard good reviews from Blue Moon Backpacker but they were full so I went to Rutherford Backpacker, formerly a YHA but now unaffiliated. The reception was closed until 1500 so I headed to a cafe for a pie and smoothy (apple and fijoa). Back at the Backpacker reception 1500 came and went. Finally 15 minutes later a lady turned up with no appology for being late. I cheched in and the room was ok but would be crowded if full. It did have a couple of couches and I was the only one there.
I had a shower and did my laundry before sorting through my photos and reading for a bit.
For dinner I went to the Mussel Pot as I thought being in the World Greenshell Mussel capital I better have some. I had a lovely dinner and was surprised by how many mussels I got. I was definitely full at the end.
After dinner I worked on my blog and read.