Meremere to Huntly
Dad dropped me off this morning. We had breakfast at Pokeno Bacon in Mercer. I got the big breakfast. I couldn’t believe how much bacon was on the plate. Six big pieces and all the rest. I didn’t struggle too much getting it down though.
I started today opposite the old derelict power station in Meremere where I had finished yesterday. I headed up the western side of the Waikato expressway until I reached the raceway and then followed the riverbank up to Rangiriri. It was beautiful farm land alongside the Waikato River. My boots were still wet from the previous day. I stopped on the side of the road in Rangiriri west after crossing the bridge and had some lunch under a tree and out my boots out in the sun to dry out. I think I wont bother with waterproof boots next time because once they are wet inside it takes longer to dry them out. They really do a better job of keeping water in rather than out.
At the raceway I caught up to another TA hiker called Eric. He is from Canada. He was a really nice guy and we walked together for an hour or so before he stopped to dry his tent out from the previous night. We had so much to talk about and chatted non stop about our experiences on the trail so far. Eric has just finished the Pacific Crest Trail up the west coast of America. That is 4000kms and he did it in 135 days. He will go on to walk the Appalachian Trail after he finishes this one. Eric said the TA is much harder than the PCT. The tracks are rugged and steep. The PCT is good walking track the whole way and even in the mountains the tracks switch back to make it easier.
The second half of the day was straight road walking from Rangiriri to Huntly which ran parallel with the river. There was no shade for 18kms and it was the hottest day yet. I made it all the way to the bridge in Huntly because I wanted to get as close to the Hakarimata range as possible before heading over it the next day. I hope the track in there is well maintained because it looks tough. At least 10kms of steep bush land but will be following the ridgeline most of the way. It comes out at Ngaruawahia. I hope to finish in Hamilton city somewhere.