Well folks, I spent a lot of time editing and adding some pictures. As a result, I’m a bit stressed about trying to blog the last two and a half weeks. I will work to get in what I can.
From Waitomo we had a day of pasture hiking to Te Kuiti. This was the first hiking day after I hit bottom going into Waitomo (we refer to that section as the cloudy forest now). I was hoping and hoping I would have an easy time getting back on the trail. The views were certainly beautiful. Again, I struggled with the resemblance to Lord of the Rings causing such homesickness; but I kept my head up.
Even though my head was up, it was hard to laugh at the first section of the trail–thousands of gorse (don’t be fooled by the pretty yellow flowers!!!!!) stabbing every inch of my body for hours.
G, having his fancy pants, was mostly unaffected. 😛
I did take the time, though, to have G record what I mean when I tell you the hills here are stupid steep. See below,
But there came an end to the gorse-engrossed section. 🙂 And then things were much more enjoyable. Just beautiful hiking across the countryside.
The day was long, but rewarding. With the open views and great weather, we were able to see and appreciate all the distance we were traveling. There was this sick hill section at the end that was nearly unbelievable. The trail was made specifically to go from a high point to the absolute lowest and then summit the highest hill. We could have gone around. I decided we’d rest before going over. (Notice how very tiny the sheep at the top are)
We did get our first clear views of the coming volcanic range, including Mt. Doom…but we could have gone around.
After a long day of pretty hiking, we arrived in Te Kuiti–the sheering capital of the world.
We went to the grocery store to resupply. We gathered our expensive groceries, ever conscious of the soon-to-set sun. Our sleeping plan was to walk to the southern end of town and ask if we could camp in a yard. At the grocery store, the young gal who was ringing up our groceries started asking about what we were doing. She couldn’t believe we had walked into town and was further amazed that we were going to put all our food into our packs. As we talked about it, the woman behind us in line hesitantly offered to give us a ride to the south end of town. We were very grateful.
She drove us down to the bottom of town and stopped at a park. As we were getting out, she hesitantly offered to let us sleep in her mother’s yard (she was in town staying with her mom) and to drive us back to the south side of town in the morning. We were incredibly grateful and settled back into the car.
Meggie took us to her mom’s house and showed us around. We pitched our tent, sorted our groceries and went into the house to join Meggie and her mom for some milo (hot cocoa).
We passed the evening talking about many things highly relevant to Meggie and her family; it’s amazing how deeply you can step into a stranger’s life with a simple exchange of generosity and kindness.
Meggie took us back to the trail in the morning and we exchanged our bitter sweet good-byes.