Oct 6 day 36 Te Kuiti to Mangaokewa road 22 km 8:15-1:15
Slack Pack– never did that on the Appalachian Trail, but did today. Since there were over 60 km of hiking without camping possibilities, I decided to stay two nights in Te Kuiti, walking out this morning to do the first section of 22 km, then was picked up by Al at the other end. Only carried a light pack with water, snickers, and rain gear, so I thought it would be a walk in the park. Much of the walk was beautiful, always in sight of the Mangaokewa stream. Had some difficulty early on as a bridge on the trail opened out on three unmarked options. Collating all the information I had didn’t resolve the question, so I spent 45 minutes trying each one, and of course the right choice was door #3. I then hiked on at a good pace, but for some reason could not make good time. One day I will understand that. The latter part of the day was pasture bog hiking, with a lot of ambiguously marked paths. Adding a bit to the stress of slow progress was the complete lack of cell service which I would need to call Al when I got to the other end. You can imagine my relief when, on emerging from a recently logged wasteland, then crossing a green pasture, I could see his car parked just past the gate. On ride back to town, he took me around a bit of the county, hoping to catch sight of the airplane spreading fertilizer on the steep hills. We rode up past the landing strip and saw the loading equipment, but the wind was up so the planes were down. He dropped my back in Te Kuiti mid-afternoon, so I did laundry and worked over my resupply as there is a long stretch ahead in the bush.