Distance today: 35.7km
Distance total: 1411.2km
Time hiked: 5h 24min
Time total: 414h 59min
Whanganui River, here we come!
What a magnificent view when I open the zipper of my tent: horses around me, with the low morning sun shining brightly on the green hills around. The shallow fog makes the scenery even more stunning.
The canoes or kayaks (I still don't know yet, which of the two it will be) won't be ready until half past nine - tree hours from now.
So I just relax and soak up the energy of the place. Still, it doesn't take too long till I start feeling a little edgy. After almost 50 days trail I'm not used to be bound to a schedule anymore.
Eventually the canoe (that's what we gonna use) is ready and after a quick safety briefing we are finally on our way downstream. As we both have no canoeing experience at all, the first few kilometers are mostly a barely controlled zigzagging. Hannah at the front, me at the back, responsible for the (terrible) steering. We are constantly shouting back and forth but somehow we manage to make it through the first rapids without capsizing. But to be honest, the rapids are quite lame. Not tricky at all. Probably the higher than usual water level makes it easier.
The longer we paddle, the more coordinated the canoeing gets and we really can start to enjoy the lovely weather and landscape.
The views deep down in the gorge are amazing. Bush left and right and especially the waterfalls are marvellous. At some point the gorge narrows. With steep cliffs all around I'm feeling very little.
Time flies - even though paddling is very strenuous (much harder than I expected). And way earlier than expected we reach our campsite beside John Coull Hut. With the two lovely rangers and the 9 other guests we spend a great evening talking about all kind of different stuff - far into the night. A really enjoyable way end a cool day.