Oct 7 day 37 Mangaokewa road to Ngaherenga campsite 36 km 8:00-4:00
Al, the transport guy, picked me up at 7:15 to head back to Mangaokewa road to start the day, but because they are strengthening a bridge, we had to do a detour around the countryside and passed one of the many farm airstrips I have been hiking past all these weeks. I was always curious about them as they did not seem to be the kind of airstrip a wealthy farmer would set down on. Turns out they need to fertilize all that steep pasture land and the only way to do it is by air. We came up on one in full operation. A specially equipped single engine plane roars up a rough, short, steep landing strip. At the top is a loading truck that gets about two tons of fertilizer in its hopper, the plane spins around, gets reloaded and takes off, all in less than a minute. The pilot uses GPS to determine where to drop, takes a couple minutes and is back for another load. The man offered to take me up for a run, but I was just too damn chicken. Al dropped me off for what was a long, not particularly interesting road walk to Pureora, which is the start of a long mountain trek. Leaving the flat farmland behind tomorrow and should be able to see Lake Taupo and Mt. Ruapehu early on if the weather holds.