Distance travelled today: 29 km
Total TA distance covered: 530 km
A great start to the day!
Camping on the Done wasn’t too bad. I had just enough flat ground for my body to have a decent nights sleep. I knew it was only 2km to the highway from here, mostly down and on a formed track from a viewing platform 1km in. Better yet, the track from the Dome ends at the highway and the Dome Cafe.
I made it to the Cafe just after 7am and got stuck into a big breaky of bacon, eggs, hash brown, mushys, toast and coffee. The cafe owners really nice and happy to have a chat. They certainly looked after me. Breakfast taken care, the cafe filled my water bottles and made me a delicious lunch to take with me – two rounds of meat and fresh salad sandwitches. I would eat well today!
Just before leaving the Cafe a tramper who would take on the southern island later in the year arrived for a training hike, complete with flour bag loaded backpack. Yes..training is a good idea. Wish I had done some more. Actually I wish I had done at least some.
Crossing the highway it was straight onto gravelled country roads for the best part of the day. An uneventful morning really. But I did find the area between Smyth Road and Mathews Road about 6km out of Warkworth to be really enjoyable. The country blocks were perfect. They were in the Goldilocks zone – not too big, not too small, not steep but undulating and lush. I could picture myself living on such a property. Close to a regional town but not right in it and great climate for growing enough fruit and veg and running some animals to keep us healthy. Just need a job to go with it or a complete change of lifestyle.
From there as the trail climbed steeply through harvested pines towards Moirs Hill the trail got tedious. It was flat out boring! How many sections do we have to walk through harvested pines. No views to be had and in the baking sun. Not enjoyable. The mental game started to kick in. I was thinking this is crazy. I’ve already past 500 km, how much more of these crap sections of trail do I subject myself to. It was not fun. It was hard work! If its no fun and hard work why am I doing this? A low moment for sure but forgetting the big picture. In half thought about quitting but only half. My other brain said “this is easy. Its just walking. Want to sit in an office in front of a computer? The suns out, its not raining. You’re belly is full. This is great.”
At the start of this trip I invented a rule for myself. I can quit but just never on that day I think about quitting. If I still feel like quitting the following day then it will be decision time but just never at the moment I feel like quitting. And so I pushed on.
The situation changed at the top of Moirs Hill as I hooked into my yummy sandwiches, got some energy back and looked ahead at the thought of a beer at the Puhoi Pub at the end of the day.
So after lunch, completely piped up and back on my A game, I made the final push towards Puhoi. I knew after Moirs Hill it was back onto some more decent trail and mostly down hill. I virtually skipped my way to the Pub for the next couple hours. Oh the highs and lows of trail life. It changes so quickly.
I made the pub by 3pm. Having booked a room a couple of days ago which was great as they are limited and it is impossible to rock up and expect to find a bed.
The rest of the afternoon is as one should expect, multiple beers and a pub steak dinner. I told you I would eat well today. Being happy hour is all the more special.
From here I reckon Auckland is 2 days away and I reserved a room at the YHA.