We started our holiday early in the morning, and were at Taihape for our first stop. “ The Quilted Gumboot” was still shut. Huge sigh of relief from Hugh!!!
After all, I hadn’t packed the Bernina, but almost everything else for our two weeks in the bush. I thought that a few fat quarters would not be too much to cram in, never mind. We carried on, and by the time we reached Taumarunui, I was ready for a break and a coffee. Petrol top up, more groceries and on the road again.
At last we turned off and soon were on the gravel narrow road. So many trees have been felled since last year, huge areas of clear ground with blackberry slowly taking over, and then, there we were.we set up the tent between the two vehicles, thinking this was a good spot. More of this choice to come later !!!
There are 4 shelters, each one 3 sided, with a large fire, a big table with bench seats, and there are 3 long drop toilets ‘ Sunny Dunnies”, or “ Outhouses” each one a walk through wet grass in the morning.
Our closest one was 99 yards from our tent. Yes, verified by a range finder. These camping and hunting men have everything you need, even to know how far to walk!!!my estimation of walks to the little house added up to some kilometres over the 2 plus weeks.
The next day we took the quad and trailer a short way up one of the metal roads and loaded up firewood. Hugh had his smaller chainsaw, and we didn’t need to walk far to collect as much as we would need. Hugh did another load, making sure we had ample for any cold mornings and nights. When we left last Friday the couple who were moving into our shelter had some wood left for them, they were so thankful.
We met so many couples from overseas, here are Marion and Thomas, both from Germany,, and both studying to be vets. They have done 4 years of the five and a half year course, and when they return it is the practical part that will be very busy, Thomas told me they will work and study day and night !!!
The morning of the “ Freezing Fog” we were up so early and lit the fire, still very dark outside, it was 5.30 a.m. and too cold to stay in the tent.My many layers of clothes told a story in themselves,
2 layers of merino, then a heavy fleece jacket, a Gore-Tex coat with hood pulled up, fleece hat, gloves and cut off socks that I use to go inside my boots also on my hands.Thick merino socks and tramping boots.
Why was I here???no real answer to that question. Well, after the early morning coolness, the days warmed up and were mostly fine and almost hot.
But if you mention the cold to a “ King Country” man, the message is “ You need to harden up. Swallow a teaspoon of cement !!!” The economy of his words said it all, not even a suggestion of a concrete sandwich.
The night sky colours are showing that wonderful range of smoky pink,taupe,grey and mauve, that lasts for such a short time, then all is dark.
lichen hung off the trees, and when it was windy blew around, waving its fronds, and there were many birds, not afraid, who came each morning.
The black bush robin was elusive and very hard to get a good picture as he flitted so fast,This was one of the few times he/she sat still long enough to get a shot not too blurry.He sat on this cut off slab of wood every morning, then was gone all day, and there was only one.
On Monday 19th, we went to Taumarunui for more supplies, a new sleeping bag for me, and other goodies.I did buy a New Zealand Herald, but DID NOT look at the weather details, and did not give a second thought to the local weather forecast.
Horror, it read for…..
King Country area, TODAY, periods of rain developing during the morning. Southeasterlies strengthening, rising to gale, gusting to 110km/h in exposed places from late afternoon.
This was so true. It was called a Cyclone in Taupo, Ohakune and New Plymouth had wind/gale damage, and at our camp the gale blew ALL NIGHT. One tent pole cracked, that side kept falling over with reach gust, the tent collapsing onto my side. Finally we got up, lit the fire, and waited for dawn.
Quotation of the day, from an unknown writer
“ Those who say you cannot take it with you have not seen a vehicle packed up for a camping trip to the outback”
Cheers from Jean