We had decided that Frances could ride the Timber Trail better than she could walk it. The walk takes 4 days but we could ride it in just 2 days. Then we had another days ride on back roads into Taumauranui.
So along with Dad Dave and young Baxter we climbed on the mountain bikes that had been delivered for us by Taumarunui Timber Transport. They will take our packs to the first campsite at Piripiro, then collect them the next day and deliver them to the campsite at the end.
This meant we only had a couple of small day packs with lunch and snacks.
I haven’t been on a bicycle for about 7 years and I have never been game to do any mountain biking. I have ridden on the back of s tandem for a number if years with my eyes closed on the downhill stretches so this was going to be a real challenge for me. So I gave myself a good talking to and got on with it.
I really surprised myself at his well I did and that I actually enjoyed most of the ride. But I didnt like riding over the longer swing bridges.
Frances was okay riding the bike but still struggled getting on and off it. Also she was unable to stand up to ride making hills much more difficult for her. She also had a couple of nasty crashes so added bumps and bruises to her other injuries.
I was totally blown away at how she just kept going, sitting on the seat the whole way. Dave and I would get off and walk our bikes up the big hills and Frances would just toddle on past us slowly. My bum was sore and hers must have been a lot worse but she kept on going 39 km the first day with many steep ups and downs and 44km the second day in on and off rain. The 3rd day was a nice road ride of 24km.
Sadly, It was at this stage that Frances conceded that she needed to quit the trail and go home and get her foot sorted. It was not getting any better. This was a very hard decision to make.
On the second day we passed the 1000 km point of the Te Araroa. Wow that far already! In a way I feel that it has gone too quickly. I only need to do that twice more and it will all be over.
We had nice campsites. The second night we were in our tents during a thunder and lightening storm. That was exciting. Our tents were really tested and passed. The Dave and Baxter slept inside the shelter.
On arrival in Taumauranui we headed straight for a cafe and had a huge brunch before heading to a motel (yes a motel) for the night. Very posh, hot showers, clothes washed and packs sorted out.
Then it was shopping for me and about 30 other Te Araroa walkers. I needed to get food for the next 6 days ealking to Owhango then the 42 Traverse, the Tongariro Crossing. In addition I needed 5 days food for the Whanganui River canoe section. The supermarket was hectic with all the hikers looking for stuff and going up and down the isles the wrong way, chatting checking out what others had in their trollises and mixed in with the licals. It was a real circus.
The canoe hire people picked up our food bags outside the supermarket. There was a great crowd of us there, all happy to meet up again and swapping stories.