NZ Day 57
WELLINGTON: Sight seeing around Wellington
Today was one of those magical days when everything just turns out perfectly. Headed into Wellington after a leisurely breakfast and went to DOCs to try and work out our plan of action when we get back on the road. It looks like we will only miss the Richmond Ranges on the South Island but pick up both The Abel Tasman , Heaphy and Routburn track we will spend NY day planning and booking . Next Stop Te Papa museum which as great, they had an amazing exhibition on Gallipoli. By the his time David was fanging for a drink so we headed down to the wharf ended up at a great pop up bar with some really cool tunes. It as very chilled. They have a Pink Flamingo cocktail send in these very cool glasses (see below) I had to hav one.
HIGHLIGHT: The Gallipoli exhibition at the museum
LOWLIGHT: The bloody wind even on such a beautiful day it blows cold
Grateful today for the simplicity of living every moment. Enjoy just being today, in the moment. Grateful for Pink Flamingo cocktails very delicious. Grateful for The Spunky Rooster doing things with him make it doubly nice.
NZ DAY 54
KAPITI COAST TRACK: Waikanae to Paekakariki 22KM (Total KM's walked 929)
Today we returned to walking after a 10 day hiatus ( 5 days on the river and 5 days rest) and boy did the body let us know. It as very reminiscent of Day 1. We were walking on the beach and our packs weren’t sitting right, our body was groaning and everything . However there were some subtle differences and the difference was us. We instinctively knew our bodies would slowly adjust, our gear had a familiarity about it and our minds were clear and a lot more focused.
When I started walking 7 weeks ago I had no idea if I was capable of tackling such an adventure. I was not an outdoors girl, I was over weight and not the fittest person around. I did however have a clear vision of what I wanted from life. My brain was constantly going at 100miles an hour creating all sorts of scenarios and "what if'". Today I can honestly say I know that I can have whatever I want in life and whatever comes my way I will find the resources to deal with it.
HIGHLIGHT: Just living life
LOWLIGHT: The aches and pains
I am so grateful for my growth on this journey and my heart although scared and wounded it is resilient and has spirit. No matter how much it bears it bounces back. I am grateful that I am loved by great people...The Spunky Rooster who constantly reassure me with the depth of his love for me and his commitment to us......my gorgeous daughter Samantha who continually surprises me with little displays of love....my mum Ally who's support and encouragement have meant so much to me .......to my beasties Donna & Vicki who's madness helps me feel that I part of a tribe.
NZ Day 52
We bused from Whanganui to Waikanae to set ourselves up to wait out the Christmas public holidays giving me another 5 days rest which I am hoping will fix my shin splint. The Doctor said anything from 10 days to 6 weeks by the end of these few days aI would have been resting it for 10 days.
We are staying at El Rancho campground and spending Christmas here with just the 2 of us. so very low key. We had a really lovely lunch of prawn , shaved ham. Chicken, anti pasta and cheese followed by a whole tub of cherries. It was a little lonely but made both of think about what constitute “Christmas”. Having spent years in hospitality Christmas has always been celebrated on Christmas Eve with me working on Christmas Day. Seeing all the families and extended families celebrating in the park I felt a little teary realising my family was far away. I think about my younger brother and his family who I have fallen out of contact with and I know this is something I need to rectify. I think about the sacrifices I have and will continue to make to be able to live this life. It is an exceptional life but not without it's cost. One of those cost is being far away from my daughter Samantha. I hope she understands what I am trying to achieve and why it is important to me.
Today I am grateful for my family although only small I love them fiercely Samantha, David, my Mum and Gary. You all hold special places in my heart. I am grateful for people’s generosity
NZ Day 49
WHANGANUI RIVER: Rivertime Lodge to Whanganui 37KM (Total KM's walked 907)
Today was another hard day. Paddling into the wind AGAIN, broken into 2 halves due to the incoming tide. In the morning we paddled to Kapragonga Landing 17km and pulled in to wait out the incoming tide. It was amazing to see that even 20km inland from the ocean had a huge effect on the water level , rising roughly 1m in an hour. David had promised me that the last 20km would be easy due to going with the tide......he lied. LOL. It was hard but rewarding, we pulled into the Whanganui Top 10 Holiday Park tied but very chuffed we had conquered another part of this journey.
After 5 days on the river I have muscles in my arms like never before, which reminded me of my younger brother. When he was about 4-5 he used to flex his muscle and ask my mum how big his muscles were, my mum would say he had knots in cotton. Well after the Whanganui River I think I have knots in cotton. Lol
HIGHLIGHT: The amazing staff at the holiday park
LOWLIGHT: Saying goodbye to Sven and Sybil
Gratitude sometimes is an obvious thing like having a great day, but sometimes it is a subtle thing like feeling like I have achieved something. So today I am grateful for the conscious feeling of being proud of myself for paddling 200km even though I was in pain and exghausted. I am grateful for my amazing partner who found ways to keep us both going when it got tough. I am grateful for the Whanganui Top 10 holiday park who greets all TA walkers with beautiful cabins at a great price, and a amazing hot chip machine.
NZ DAY 48
WHANGANUI RIVER: Jeruselum to Rivertime Lodge 39KM (Total KM's walked 870)
Woke up this morning hoping that the wind situation had improved over night. With the prospect of a hard paddle as well as three big rapids it was looking like a shitful day. Funny how your mind set has to change when there is no alternative but to paddle. We set of around 8am and it wasn’t long before the wind picked up again, so it was heads down and paddle. It wasn’t long before we hit the first rapid, which we successfully manoeuvred, same with the second. By the third rapid I think we were a little cocky, well what do they say pride comets before the fall. Let’s just say we got through, it wasn’t pretty but we didn’t end up in the water. This rapid is called 50/50 as about half the people who paddle it end up in the water, so pretty chuffed we made it through. To be honest I can’t take much of the credit as I panicked half way through and dropped my bundle a bit, it took a loud “paddle” from David to shock me back into action. Having made it through successfully we sat and watched other successfully and unsuccessfully managed the rapid. David got a great video of Sven & Sybil taking a spectacular spill into the water.
Made reasonable time got in around 5pm
We also called into the Flying Fox, the B and B we are going to do some volunteering at in January. It is so gorgeous. (see pictures below
HIGHLIGHT: Making it through 50/50
LOWLIGHT: Without sounding like a whiner I have to say the bloody wind.
Today I am grateful for the people we meet along the way, from other TA hikers to the people who offer accomodation, to people who are curious about what we are doing. Each interaction bring me joy and expands who I am as a person. I will be forever grateful for their contribution to my journey. I am grateful for the muscles I am growing and for the muscles that are continuing to recover daily. I am grateful for this life, I am so far out of my comfort zone, everyday I have to recite my mantra of fit, strong and capable to myself before I set of. If I didn’t I would freeze in the spot, it’s scary not knowing what the day will bring.
NZ Day 47
WHANGANUI RIVER: Tieke Kainga to Jerusalem 37KM ( Total KM's walked 831)
Total KM covered
OMG I AM TOTALLY SHATTERED. Today on the river started like the last 2 days peaceful serene and very pleasant then about an hour into it the wind picked up and it was like paddling in honey we were getting nowhere. Eight hours later we are approaching where we believe the camp should be and.......nothing, no signs, no landing spot....nothing. So we keep paddling, of course missing the camp spot was David’s fault (LOL) so I am letting him know that he is not in my good books when see a sign saying ICECREAM & DRINKS...it was of course the camp spot. This camp spot is a small town called Jerusalem and holds a bit of River History in the form of a church.
Jerusalem, Hiruhārama in Māori, was originally called Patiarero and was one of the biggest settlements on the Whanganui River in the 1840’s with several hundred Ngāti Hau inhabitants of the iwi Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi. Many Whanganui River settlements were given new place names by Reverend Richard Taylor in the 1850’s. In 1892, Suzanne Aubert (known as Mother Mary Joseph) established the congregation of the Sisters of Compassion. They became a highly respected charitable nursing and religious order.
HIGHLIGHT: Have to say seeing the ICRECREAM & DRINKS sign
LOWLIGHT: Paddling for 8 hours
Grateful for the little township of Jerusalem which provided with hot chips for dinner. I am grateful for my inner strength today and the fact that I broke down several times but kept going. Grateful to the Spunky Rooster who was very patient with my whinging.
NZ Day 46
John Caul Campsite to Tieke Kainga 29KM ( Total KM's walked 794)
Had a great day cruising down weather was perfect. David and I are really starting to master the rapids, so far we have not ended up in the water. We have passed many people who have tipped their canoe going through the rapids. So today was again a dream. Pulling into camp we were met by the caretakers who were Maori and they invited us to a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony. It was really cool and I felt genuinely welcome. The NZ people have really blown me away with their generosity. We have not had a bad experience with any of the locals. During the welcoming ceremony the host stands in the middle of the Marae( Maori meeting ground) and tells you that him and all his ancestors before him welcome you to this place.,then thought have to do the same stating your name, where you are from, why you are there and thank them. It was really touching.
HIGHLIGHT: The welcoming ceremony
LOWLIGHT: people being noising in camp to very late.
Grateful for the tears I cry, both the happy ones and the sad ones they help express my deepest emotions.
Grateful for music as it has the ability to lift my spirits and makes me feel my life is filled with love. I am so grateful for this paddle I feel like I have accomplished a great feat just be completing each day on the river.
NZ Day 45
WHANGANUI RIVER TRACK: Whakahoro to John Coul Campsite 37 KM ( total KM's walked 765)
Started the day early with the guy from Blazing Paddles picking us up at 7 so we could be on the river early. After an hours drive the guy backed down this little road leading down to the river. The road was overgrown and didn’t look like a great place to launch the canoe, however after pulling everything out of our packs and securing them into water tight barrels it was all systems go. Neither David or I have had any canoeing experience so I was a little apprehensive that we were let loose on the river with a couple of mud maps, 2 oars and life jackets. However.......The day turned out to be quiet surreal paddling down the Whanganui River was so beautiful even if the weather wasn’t perfect, in fact we were on the river about an hour and it bucketed down. It rain so hard we had to pull in under a ledge and bail out all the water. But besides the rain it was a slow easy paddle with amazing scenery . I said to David I expected to see a brontosaurus peak it’s head over the ridge, the vegetation seemed ancient. Pulled into a camp spot after 6 hours of paddling , arms feeling a little tired then had to haul our 2 big bins of gear up a mountain. Geez they don’t make it easy for you.
HIGHLIGHT: The peacefulness of the river
LOWLIGHT: The landing at the campsite, nearly busted my boiler pulling our gear up the bank.
Today was one of those days where you pinch ourself to ensure your not dreaming. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to experience this. Grateful for meeting back up with Emerlie and Maria. Grateful for a proper toilet ......I was busting to go when we finally docked.
NB: I have included the KM's paddled into a total walked as this is still part of the trail.