Day 58 To Pipiriki
After our extra rest day at John Coull Hut we were given the all clear to go on our way. As we had lost a day we decided to go all the way to Pipiriki so left in clear weather and had a good day on the river. No-one fell out and there were only a few rapids because of the high river. The water was very muddy and was running fast so we made really good time and were at Pipiriki by mid afternoon. Cabins were sorted, showers had and we spent the evening in their spacious common room.
Roman and The Lazy German were there so we had a catch up with them too. Roman is the super fast Swiss hiker who lives on beer, cigarettes and instant noodles. He is paired up with a young German guy who doesn’t much like walking so he hitch hikes from town to town meeting Roman in the pub when he arrives. They are an unlikely pair but it seems to work.
Day 59 to Flying Fox campsite
The next day there was heavy rain predicted by all weather sites but there was a variation in times. So we took off at 9 am to make a run to The Flying Fox Campsite. By 11 am it was pouring with rain. The water was so choppy that it seemed like we were out at sea. We just dug in and paddled as hard as we could to help keep us warm, bailing the water out regularly. As soon as we slowed down were felt the cold my feet especially as I was only wearing sandals. No photos as we needed all our concentration and energy to get to our destination.
Today I saw the funniest sight of the whole Te Araroa. We came around a curve in the river and there was Swiss Roman and The Lazy German in their canoe in the pouring rain. Roman was at the back holding his umbrella in one hand, a cigarette in his mouth and a can of beer in the other hand. On the barrels in front of him was another couple of cans of beer. He was calling out “Paddle faster, you lazy German” and the young guy was paddling at full pelt. Unfortunately it was raining too hard to have my camera out but we laughed so hard. We came alongside them in a calmer area to find their canoe nearly full to the brim with water and floating beer cans. They had lost their baler so we shared ours with them making sure the cans stayed in the boat, of course.
Finally arriving at the Flying Fox about 1pm all wet cold, and miserable. The mud was knee deep as we pulled up our canoes and tied them to a post. Then we slipped and slided our way up the muddy path to the campsite to find we did not have bookings as we had expected. So there was a bit of hassle with the owners who were not so friendly . Eventually Dave, Baxter, Matt and I were in a posh chalet costing $300, Kay was in a Glamping tent ($125) and Roman and Lazy in basic tents.
We carried our barrels up the slippery cliff, had hot showers, Dave lit the fire and we were all soon sitting in the sun and enjoying the afternoon. Our wet clothes were on a rack in front of the fire and we were all happy again. There was an earthquake during the night very close to us which woke everyone except me. I was sharing a set of bunks with Matt so I would have thought any movement was him on the top bunk. I did get up in the night to pee and felt a bit weird and dizzy, maybe I was having a stroke? getting back to our room found that I had put on Matt’s glasses so that explained everything.
Day 60. 21 Dec 2019. to Wanganui Holiday Park
We hatched a plan to go all the way to Whanganui today rather than take the 2 days we had planned. This would mean we had totally made up the lost day and we would finish on Saturday as originally planned. Usually the last couple of hours into Whanganui is effected by the tides but we had been told that the high water levels would mean we could get there at any time of the day.
So we headed off and had a really good day on the river. No one fell in, we moved very fast, the sun was out and we found a lovely picnic spot for lunch.
Arriving at The Holiday park, we emptied our barrels and repacked our packs and said our goodbyes. Cara arrived to pick me up to take me home for Christmas having reached the 1,355 km mark.