Further to Whakahoro
The sound of more rain on the roof of our Whakapapa accomodations was troubling and yet we had to press on to make our boat. Our morning walk was cold and wet, through the volcanic bogs of the Tongariro National Park. The clay was an intense red color and the trail was well marked, so, despite LOTS of puddles and a few river crossings, the walk was enjoyable. We came to the Mangahuia campsite and took a break and then began the road walk to National Park Four Square. Here, Foursquare is a grocery store, not a check-in app. We resupplied at this VERY expensive grocery, seeing as it was located in a nation park. This was the most food we'd been carying seeing as we needed to get 6 days worth. Luckily, the weather began to take a turn for the best, and we got some hot coffees and packed down everything. (Packing down involves taking all food out of its packaging and into zip lock bags. Seeing as we have to carry all trash with us, this cuts down on our trash load and makes sure everything stay dry!) Our packs full, we headed toward the Fishers Track, this time a cycle track. (we can't WAIT to get to the south island and be on HIKING trails!) This was a lovely walk though, as the sun came out and we wound around stunning hills and slowly left civilization. The track was a combo of grass/metaled road that descented about 400 meters into a valey. Once at the bottom, we stopped to bask in the warmth and eventally camped along the river. DRY and happy.
Today we had to make 37 km into Whakahoro to catch our boat the following morning. The company had told us 6:45 am, so we wanted to get their the night before, just to be safe. The road walk was mostly on gravel so it wasn't too painful. We walked passed an old town memorial and horse sculpture made entirely of old horse shoes. Then, we got caught in a hurd of sheep for about 20 minutes and had to dodge their poop as we walked slowly behind the herd and herder on a fourwheel. We saw sights for the "Blue Duck" cafe at the end of our journey and this gave us something to look forward to. More and more wandering road took us into the middle of nowhere as canoe companies passed us and then re-passed us after they unloaded their passenger. I thought about Hannah's Paddles all day!
Once we arrived at the Blue Duck, the owner offered us FREE cold drinks and an opportunity to sign their Te Araroa book. This was much needed and we settled into the hut just down the road. Here we met Audrey (23, French) and Jesse (15 years old! kiwi). Jesse is trying to be the youngest to section hike the trail and he was just finishing up this section before heading back to town for finals. We made dinner and got to know Audrey a bit, as she would be joining us on the next leg of our journey. Things were looking much brighter now and we were excited to commence our big canoe trip!