Sep 19 day 19 Pakiri Camp to Dome Cafe (Highway 1) 26 km 6:45-4:00
The most physically rigorous day since the Raetea Forest. Started out walking straight up a steep pasture– no trail, just knee high grass and the occasional post painted white at the top. Finally got to the top, great views but completely soaked. Followed a fence line up and down with mud so deep, it sucked your shoes off. Path was narrow and crowded by gorse which at some point tore off my hat which was hooked to my pack (I was not about to go back to look for it). It’s cute when Pooh or Tigger fall into the gorse, they don’t bleed. The rest of the day was mud and root hiking, lots of elevation change, some good views but also much rain. High point was the end when I got to the Dome Cafe by four — it closes at five– had an early dinner and a couple Macs lagers which tasted exactly like the beer Dad used to drink when I was a kid. They comped me some fries, then gave me a ride to the “sheeps world” camp ground– a place straight out of some weird reality show. Was cold and wet so I opted for bunk, which turned out to be in an old caravan– was cool, sort of. Tomorrow not looking easy but not as bad as today. Gunna sleep well tonight.