I actually managed to sleep despite throbbing legs. I was keen to get moving, I had no idea what condition the track was in, but I was hoping after some sleep I could move a bit quicker. I knew that the track undulated along the ridge line so there would be some climbs even though it was generally descending. I was hoping to do at least 2km an hour so it would take me at least 5 hours to do the remaining 10km. I had 500ml water so that was 100ml/hour. I worked this out to be about 9 sips/ hour. I made up a rule that I could only drink on the up hills and only 3 sips at a time. One summit after another, one steep slippery descent after another, one mud sucking step after another I made it out to the farmland. I had no water left by the time I crossed a steam where I could refill. It took all my patience to filter the water before I drank it but there were cattle in the paddock so I made myself do it. I sat and drank my fill. I now had another road walk before I got to Mangamuka Bridge where there was a cafe and a pub where I was going to spend the night. I needed some down time and I knew I wasn't mentally ready to tackle another forest yet. At the summit last night I already had decided that I was going to skip the next one, find a way to Keri Keri or Paihia. I struggled with this decision but each weary step confirmed it to be the right one. The road walk was long and hot, especially the highway, and even though it was easier walking than the forest my legs were like lead.
I finally got to the cafe and apologised to the guy in front of me in the line because I knew I must be stinky as I had just come off the trail. He asked me what I'd been doing so I told him about the trail and starting from Cape Reinga. He had just been up there with his friend Leon, but was heading to the Hibiscus Coast. I asked him would he mind taking a smelly, dirty tramper to Paihia. Of course not! Leon and Murray - my angels. It turns out that both of them were quite religious and believed that they were put in my path for a reason. So we all piled into their little car and off we went. It turns out Murray is a pretty famous violinist - go figure, one of my angels plays the violin. Check him out on YouTube - Murray Van Hoorn. It was a lovely trip and they dropped me to the door of the Pickled Parrot Back packers. Leon insisted that they pray for me which both felt a little uncomfortable and a lovely, thoughtful thing to do at the same time.
Pigeon xxSo here I am At the Pickled Parrot. Do I feel guilty about missing a bit - comes and goes, but I still think it was the right thing to do. I made it through Herinkino and Raetea and I'm proud of that. But I realised that I don't want all this journey to be a slog - I want it to be about having fun and meeting people like Murray and Leon too. I have to do some thinking about the best way to continue given I'm such a slow poke. Taking longer means more stops, more stops means more food and more weight - dilemma.
PS the pub where I was going to stay appears to have burnt down between the time I had passed it with Pete and when I walked through. At least I think that is where the pub was.