Day 23 Retaruke – Whakahoro

3 Nov
Retaruke River Bridge – Whakahoro
1195km – 1219km, 24km, 5hrs 45mins

Overcast, sunny, strong gusty wind.

I slept really well next to the river. When I woke in the night the sky was alive with stars and glow worms twinkled on the opposite river bank. This is what I came to explore!

The wind broke a few branches off above during the night but none had a direct hit on my tent.

I packed up and broke camp by 8:15, said good bye to Tom and Hills and headed for Blue Duck Lodge. I noticed on the map it was 7 km before Whakahoro.

I was feeling really good all day today, pleasant chats with people on the road. One lad answered my question where exactly is the lodge? Answer in Whakahoro! A bit confusing.

Hills and Tom caught up with me on a bend as I took a break and waited for Quinten to pass in his loaded logging truck. He stopped and chatted and gave me directions. “You are at 13, when you get to 19 Blue Duck Lodge is 15 minutes past there”.

Hills and Tom are walking on the left here as Quinten winds his truck and trailer up the hill.

He radioed ahead to a truck behind him to watch out for walkers on the road. The narrow road, a steep sharp downhill bend, a loaded double logging truck and walkers needs careful management. The roads were narrow, and potholed in places. Several trees had come down and had been cleared but fresh leaves and sticks were scattered all over the road from the strong gusty wind. Below is a poplar bent over in the wind.

The wind on bends blew the dust up. It was really exciting, so strong it stopped me several times.

This is the first time I have arrived at my destination feeling really good, 24km, good time and mid afternoon.

Ruapehu from the tops looking behind me. Finally I got to see it!

On arrival I had to rearrange my jet boat and room for tonight. I was booked in for tomorrow, all sorted quickly, met other travellers at the cafe, ate a toasted sandwich enjoyed a coffee before being taken on the quad to my cabin 1km away near the river.

I got settled into a bunk room and a couple arrived, I had the fire roaring by then and my laundry hanging above it. Next a family of 7 arrived like fire crackers, looking for their bunks in my room. I was overwhelmed and made mention to the manager who delivered their gear that I’ve paid for a single room and he then showed the family to their correct bunk rooms. He offered me a separate building but now it was sorted I was happy. I’d paid $100 a night for a single but didn’t expect 10 to share the small dining, kitchen and fire.

It was a pleasant night yet my turn to use the kitchen was 9pm so I passed on that. The youngest of the group (9years) latched on to me and became my friend. He gave me a hug goodnight and again burst into my room to say bye and another hug, be safe he said the next morning.

One of the parents offered me accommodation in Palmerston North as I passed through so we swapped information.

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