Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Day 31 (1 Dec) Upper Mangatawhiri Campsite to Podge's Place, Mercer (TA 713)- 25.5km (18 walked)

Majella had the shakes badly last night. I think it was scaring her. I asked her if she needed me to get help, she said no and then later said she was OK. Thank goodness. Am feeling the weight of responsibility - I know ultimately it was her choice to come, but the trail can be tough and she is feeling it. The problem is that I can't make it not steep or hot or muddy or slippery or long. Sometimes there are no short cuts, sometimes you just have to proceed, one careful, exhausted step after another.

The road to start was flat and very pretty and we made good time. The track to the summit was very steep as expected, it was a little muddy in places but not to bad until we got to the 'cliff' - a steep slippery wall of clay with no foot holds.  It was darn near impossible to get up - I was trying to go up the side and use the trees to support my climb, but kept slipping. Once you started slipping you didn't stop - I slid all the way to the bottom at least 3 times. I finally managed to get it all together and got up. Went back, took Majellas pack and helped her up by using her hiking poles to pull her up.

Thankfully that was the worst of it a despite our fears. The track was rooty, and you had to take on the supple jack, but it was no where near as muddy as yesterday's track. It was actually a beautiful forest and it would have been fun to do it with a day pack and fresh legs. It took us the better part of  5 hours to get out onto the road. We managed to score a lift off the school bus driver who saved us weary trampers around 11km of road. We walked into Mercer tired but satisfied that we had made
It. Got a room at the motel associated with Podge's Place - awesome shower. Pizza and several beverages for dinner. Asked Majella to think about whether she needs a day off the feet, but Mercer is kind of like Marulen - not the sort of place that has a lot going on -so not the best place to take a rest stop in.

Woke up several times thinking about how we were going to make our way to Hamilton - at 2:30am got my iPad out and  tried to find a bus to take us and,  after hearing the train at 3:15,  got it out again to see whether there was a train. Didn't have any success. That leaves scoring a lift.

Pigeon xx

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