I packed up my little home and wandered down to fund a coffee while I waited fir Kay to arrive. Again a sad wee town with only one coffee bar open and I overheard a conversation between 2 business owners who were closed 2 to 3 days a week because of lack of staff and lack of customers.
Kay arrived and I very quickly liked her and was sure we would enjoy our next few days together. A retired lady from Waikato, Kay had done a SOBO Te Araroa the same year I did, but missed this section because of injury. So via the TA Facebook page we organized to do this together. The shared experience of Te Araroa and children and grandies gave us plenty of fodder for conversation over the next 5 days. I think our lips moved faster than our legs most of the time!!
The 12 km walk up a 4Wd track was punctuated by 25 river crossings. Being a hot day we were only too pleased to get our feet wet. There was an alternative track that went up and over Big Hill but we knew we had enough big hills to come so took the easier option.
About 2km from the end one of the Dads who had camped next to me came by and gave our packs a ride to the road end as they were getting a bit tired bumping around on our backs in the scorching sun.
We reached the relics of an old gold mining town and stopped in the shade with a father and son who were doing part of Te Araroa together. We quizzed them about the track ahead and gained some good Intel.
We made camp and had an early dinner and retired to our beds as there was some light rain and many damn sandflies. Funny last time I camped here I had a very similar experience.