Oct 28 day 58 Levin Campground to Waiopehu Hut in the Tararua range 18 km 8:30-2:30 (plus about 9 km from Levin back to the trail)
I didn’t enjoy yesterday’s hike (and have not felt real pleasure walking the last few days). In part it was long hiking with new shoes and wet feet which completely hamburgered my feet, but also I had just been counting kilometers and setting goals for distance and pace– bad idea because you are never just present in the walk. So this morning I lingered in my tent, enjoying a cool, misty but still somehow bright morning. I packed up, stopped at the campground kitchen (where my soap opera friends were having a big breakfast fry-up including pork chops) and made coffee while charging my phone. It was a long walk back to trailhead– took most of the morning (though I did stop for a meat pie on the way out of town). When I finally got to the trail, I had my head properly back in the hike, deciding at the first hut to call it a day even though it was early– wind was blowing and the rain was worsening. I have plenty of time to get through this range, and will enjoy the hike. Trail is well-done, though the rain is rapidly turning it to soup. This DoC hut is fairly new, good sound windows, nice steel tables, spent afternoon listening to Miles David (Kind of Blue), inventorying my food, eating throughout the process. I have enough for 5 days even though on this stretch I’ll only be out for at most two before hitting some form of civilization again. Sitting here is like being on the bridge of a ship in a storm, only I don’t have to steer. I remember Henry Beston describing his cape Cod House –The Foc’sle–in similar terms. For all I know, the Atlantic is right out there, or the Antarctic, all I can see is misty white opacity.