Acqua Menta to Torrente Zavianni
Overnighting at 1000 meters above sea level meant considerably lower temperatures and therefore a rather good sleep.
Overall it's similar hiking to yesterday. 4WD tracks and initially great views which eventually disappear completely as low clouds are rolling in from the west. Luckily though I manage to catch a glimpse of the Etna volcano, with what seems to be a bit of snow and smoke at the top. But it's barely visible and I can't make out the detail. Hopefully, the weather will improve a bit until tomorrow.
At least the clouds mean pleasant hiking temperatures. While it's humid, it's not particularly hot. Since Maria is still fighting with her blisters, progress is slow. It's interesting that a slower hiking pace is actually pretty tough on my body. I certainly wasn't expecting that.
Anyway, in proper thru-hiking style, Maria keeps putting one foot in front of the other and so we get closer to Torrente Zavianni, our today's goal (deviating a bit from E1 which makes a detour inland). I try keep her hiking spirit up.
During the last descent, the weather improves drastically, opening great views of the volcano again, which has gotten much closer since the morning. But not only the volcano but also the wide, dry riverbed of Torrente Zavianni far below looks interesting and I am looking forward to following it.
It takes a while to kill the 600 vertical meters. I don't mind as there is more time to enjoy the view.
We make it to the river just before 18:30. Well, it's more of a stream. Easily crossed. On the other side, we quickly find a place to pitch the tent. Not perfect but for Maria it's been enough hiking.
I'm quite proud of her achievement. The temperatures, the tough pebble beach walk earlier this week and continuing despite hurting toes. Tomorrow, she will head back to Switzerland. I really hope the time on E1 helped for her Te Araroa preparation.