Distance today: 43.3km
Distance total: 951.0km
Time hiked: 11h 27min
Time total: 274h 58min
Monday morning, shortly before 7, Labour Day. The city is still fast asleep when I walk through downtown. Lake Hamilton is quiet as well. Only some locals jogging around the small pond.
It's a long walk out of the city with its suburbs and, to be honest, quite forgettable. Car dealer, car repair shop, car dealer, tyres,...
A few kilometers into the hike I pass the Arboretum, a very nice park, followed by a 2 kilometer tramp through paddocks - the dried mud a challenge for the ankles, the 15 or so stiles one for the thighs.
Whatawhata Service Station is the last chance to get some food before heading into the woods: Hokey Pokey and Cookies and Cream double scoop Ice Cream it is ;)
Another bumpy off-road passage through paddocks, mostly hiking parallel to the road follows (by the looks of the overgrown trail, most hikers choose the road here. This is later confirmed by a farmer).
What would follow next is the Karamu Walkway, which is unfortunately closed for lambing. Being Labour Day there is probably no one in the forest. And after already 15km on asphalt I'd love some real trail... Not an easy decision. So I stand here at the crossroad for nearly 20 minutes, thinking about risking it.
I decide to swallow the bitter pill and follow the official detour published on the TA website, respecting the closure. Another 15km on the road... Oh well, at least I'm not making a landowner angry and thus risking the future of the trail.
My legs are burning upon entering the great campsite.
43km, mostly on roads, is a lot. Especially when carrying food for 5 days. However, I wanted to push it today, taking advantage of the okay weather, as the forecast for tomorrow is rain, probably heavy. If this is really the case, it's only a 4 hours climb up to Pirongia Mountain. There's a hut up there, so I'd make myself comfortable there and continue the following day.
Lots of road walking today. Mostly on narrow roads with no shoulders. Still, I'm really positively surprised how considerate the drivers were (the most at least). When they had the possibility, they left plenty of space. I never felt uncomfortable.
Talking of appreciation: Many thanks for all the motivating comments from "Fradul" and "Silverhikers". It's always a pleasure to read them :)