Distance today: 31.5km
Distance total: 1887.2km
Time hiked: 10h 11min
Time total: 551h 27min
It's always the same: A windy, rainy night equals not much sleep. Still, I don't feel too tired when I set-off towards the trail head of Paekakariki Escarpment Track - a great, well benched 10 kilometer track, up to 200 meters above State Highway 1 and the railway line:
Initially following the railway, the track then zigzags up steeply via stairs. On the way up, I pass numerous of wild fennel, which fill the air with their distinctive sweet odor.
As it's a very exposed track, the higher I climb, the harder I have to fight against the strong westerly winds. At the top I'm once more surrounded by clouds, which is actually a shame, as the views would be fantastic.
Via stairs and two nice swing bridges, I descend down to Pukerua Bay. With no wind at all down here, I get warm quite quickly. Time for an ice cream to cool down ;)
The remaining 20 kilometers are on walk- and cycleways all the way to Porirua - mostly parallel to the highway, with some detours through parks and and towns.
I hike at a very slow pace, eating something in every town along the way.
Time flies and I'm already close to Porirua, when an instructor at "Adrenalin Forest", a rope course at Gear Homestead, offers me pizza. Even though I have eaten a whole pizza just an hour ago, I gladly accept - according to the motto: Munch as much as I can before hitting the South Island.
We have a long chat about tramping in general as well as TA as he is planning on doing the trail as well.
After crossing the State Highway a last time and navigating through a maze of shops in Porirua I arrive at Camp Elsdon, nicely located right beneath the approach path of Wellington airport and directly at the foot of Colonial Knob, which I will climb tomorrow morning.
My shin did okay today. As expected, I had an uneasy feeling while descending down the Escarpment: it always seems to occur on uneven, sloping terrain, when the foot is not in a horizontal position.
Otherwise I didn't feel it at all, making it a very pleasant hike.