You couldn’t see the other side of Lake Taupo.  Either toward the Central Plateau from Taupo nor across the water from East to West.  Even the wiper blades criss-crossing the windscreen in Charlie’s truck we were being driven in had moments of full speed.  Our face to face catch up concluded at Tokaanu west of Turangi where our noses were once again pointed toward the Te Araroa trail.  Namely Taumarunui.

As we stood under cover from an old disused garage forecourt canopy with thumbs posed for a hitch, we acknowledged that the time spent off the boot soles had been therapeutic.  There have been no new year’s resolutions made for 2017.  Just the usual 3 Big Goals to make 2017 our best year ever and their respective MVP’s to work toward.  The eagerness to get started working on them has been fired up even more so with the festive season down time.  And the friendship/family connectivity.

Cranking up the remainder of the North Island bit started once we got our first and then second hitch lift into Taumarunui.  The rain eased somewhat for the short road walk we did in-between lifts but heaved it down again on our arrival at the campsite we were staying at.  The camp owners felt sorry that we had to pitch Kermit and offered us a mattress in their workshop for the night.

We accepted.  Jeez we have become soft.

However, it’s best to ease back into the routine of hardened TA walker …  treading boots; humping a pack and living in the same under garments for three/four days.  The trouser belt is signalling we have had a jovial season to be jolly.  It’ll soon be a distant memory.  Fat waistline too.

At camp, we met up with our fellow Kiwi TA walker Mike who had arrived yesterday and has now caught us up (walking is a little slower than hitching, ahem!); and then shortly afterwards, the other fellow Kiwi TA walker Nick who left us for dead at the top of the Pirongia’s.  Literally!!

As we sat in the TV room huddling around a table listening to the rain ring down on the roof, we prepared our shopping list for eight days of wilderness canoeing.  Finding out that we can take just about any type of food on the canoe gave us a feeling of relief.

Is alcohol food?