Distance travelled today: 14 km
Total TA distance covered: 1434 km
Short day today.
It rained overnight and into the morning which I expected but had a short day ahead and decided to sleep in a bit until I heard the rain start to peatier out. I got packed up and was on the way by 8:30am, a late start for me but I was no hurry today. I was fully expecting to be walking in the rain today but it stayed away for the whole walk into town.
Another uneventful walk on a forest road through harvested pines and then onto the bitumen the rest of the way into Bulls. I kept myself entertained listening to podcasts from some of my favourite sources like TED talks, Ockham’s Razor and Point of Inquiry. One podcast was all about slowing down which fitted perfectly for my Te Araroa trip. One in particular was about cloud watching which I’ve found myself doing more and more during rest breaks or at the end of the day. It’s like a meditation, a chance to slow down and do nothing, just be present in the moment, observing the environment around me and letting my immagination run wild. To be able to sit still for just a few minutes to reflect on the day, to contemplate and find out what really moves us, to recall where our truest happiness lies, is an art I’m learning to appreciate more and more. But it can bring up some challenging moments like that sometimes making a living and making a life often point in opposite directions. These are the sort of things I want to think about along Te Araroa.
“…in an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still. So you can go on your next vacation to Paris or Hawaii, or New Orleans; I bet you’ll have a wonderful time. But, if you want to come back home alive and full of fresh hope, in love with the world, I think you might want to try considering going nowhere.”
Ok we’re getting a bit too Zen now….
While walking along the road towards town I was treated to an aerial display from a crop duster. I’m pretty sure he was just practicing low level flying cutting tight laps overhead, sweeping down to tree top level but the pilot never deployed anything. It reminded me of fighting fires back home with bombers coming in low to drop retardant. The pilot saw me on the road and rocked his wings side to side as I waved.
I arrived into Bulls around 12pm and headed for the bakery. Bulls is proud of being Bulls and all around town there were signs with Bull puns everywhere. All the bins were lablelled Be Responsabull, the police house has a mural with a Constabull, the town hall signed A Town Like No Udder, the toilet block with Releifabull etc… even the backpackers was Hostipabull.
Anyway, in the bakery I had the pleasure of meeting aspiring B&B operator and lively Michelle who immediately struck up a consevation seeing that I was walking Te Araroa and invited me back to her place for a cup of tea. In the spirit of not passing up opportunities I obliged. Michelle and her partner Luke were in the process of kicking off a B&B, although still a work in progress and trying to attract the attention of Te Araroa trampers. They were very keen know and to quiz me about all that is TA: where are the main sources of info for trampers; how they might get listed as a provider for accommodation, how trampers share info on the facebook pages etc… I bought my pie, apple slice and coffee back to Michelle and Luke’s place where we sat around a fire pot in the backyard and just talked. I had a coffee in hand so didn’t need tea. The conversation was completely free flowing both ways and we covered all manner of topics not just theTe Araroa. It was great to meet yet more genuine local people who were wanting to meet and assist Te Araroa trampers. True charcaters. But time got away from us. I looked at my watch and it was time to keep moving on. I’m sure I could have easily stayed there but I had a few things to do in town and had accommodation paid for further down the line.
Tomorrow is expected to be very rainy so I’m glade to have a shelter overhead tonight which means a dry pack up in the morning but I’m not looking forward to walking all day in the rain. At least it’s on roads and should make for fast walking.