Oct 26 day 56 Palmerston North to James Burtton Whare site 34 km 7:30-4:00
Half way through! It was good it get in a long hard day. Winding out of Palmerston the trail goes up through Massey University. I missed the path that went up by a stream and found myself walking parallel to it on the campus. It was Labour Day so the place was deserted–almost. The security guard stopped me to see what I was doing. I convinced him I was a harmless, slightly lost backpacker and went on my way. Much of today’s walk was on gravel roads and mountain bike trails, but the countryside was beautiful, so it was easy to keep a good pace. Mid afternoon I passed the 1500 point, just as the trail ducked off a peak and would track down through some mud and bush. Finally got my new shoes dirty. A well-made trail wound down through a pretty, deciduous forest to some streams which I had to wade across, and the Tokumaro River which I crossed twice, so not only did my shoes get muddy, they also got clean (and wet). After the second crossing, I came to the site of James Burtton’s home. He lived there in the first part of the 20th century and built the trail out to the road to transport his farm products. His fields were across the river and he died while crossing a suspension bridge he had built–sad story as he fell 8 meters, broke his leg and had other injuries. He crawled to a neighbors house, but it took 12 hours and he soon died. Had a nice conversation with a kiwi section hiker named Ryan WoolIey, then pitched my tent in the grassy space and rested my weary bones.