Te Kuiti (km913)
So basically a tropical storm is forecasted to hit the north island today and tomorrow. Rain is one thing but forecasted 100 kmh winds are a showstopper. I knew there would be a price to pay for a month of good weather. The timing could be much worse, since I’ve got a good place to stay holed up and no major time commitments.
The morning started out quite fair, making me antsy about not hiking. But it started raining by noon. Don (Dad) took us TA kids grocery shopping in town. He joked that we weren’t allowed to get any treats. Fat chance, I bought a ton of chocolate and candy. In case you’re wondering what my diet is like, here’s a snapshot of my food for 4-5 days. Yep, a lot of crap. One of my favorite things in NZ is the muesli and powdered yogurt. Mix the two with some hot water for breakfast and YUM! It’s way better than oatmeal but kind of heavy. Especially since bags of muesli only come in 750g packages or larger. There are so many varieties of powdered yogurt that I keep buying more before I’ve even ran out of the stuff I have. So I have a bag with a mixture of 3 different kinds right now. It’s so much better than powdered milk. It’s a trick I discovered on my first visit here and I’ve been waiting 15 years to reinstate it into my backpacker diet. The bounty of powdered yogurt! It’s the best!
The rest is a bunch of chocolate, granola bars, fruit bars, fruit gummies, candy, chips, crackers, nuts, tortillas, pasta sides, tuna, and drink mixes. I have one dehydrated backpacker meal left over. These are quite good here but expensive. They are pretty filling, too. I have full-blown hiker hunger, so I eat the 2 servings ones. One of the pasta sides says 6 servings…yeah right. I also bought a big chicken breast, tika masala sauce, rice, and an onion to make for dinner. Wow, I’m actually going to cook a meal! For lunch I bought a pre-made salad and forced myself to eat it. It kind of sucked but I needed some greens.
Steffen, Manu, Paula, and I pretty much sat around eating and telling stories all day. It was fun and relaxing. They are all such good-humored people, with diverse backgrounds. Manu and Paula are both dive instructors (along with a myriad of other things) in Bali, so that’s pretty awesome. Paula really knows and loves her fish, so we have that in common. All in all, a day off was a great exercise in socializing and eating. Later, the two french guys I saw way back at Nikau Bay Camp showed up. Finally I got their names…Pier and Quintin. Like me, they decided to brave the night in their tent. We were all hanging out in the lounge until late, where they built a nice fire.
The lounge, which we turned into our home away from home.
Since there’s not much to talk about today, I thought I’d make my top 5 gear list. I’ve been thinking it over for weeks now, and the ranking kind of depends on the day. If it’s cold, then I love my quilt. If it’s sunny or rainy, then I love my umbrella. But first and foremost…
1. I love my Zpacks Solplex tent! It works so well and is so light, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
2. Coming in second has to be my HMG backpack. It bears the burden every day (well, actually I do) and keeps all my stuff together, safe and dry. I’ve been happy with how it carries the weight and it only occasionally causes mild discomfort on my right shoulder.
3. & 4. This is a tie between my quilt and umbrella. Depends on the day but the umbrella may have the slight edge. Obviously the quilt is more essential.
5. Trekking poles…pretty essential, especially since my tent relies on them for structure. So really they rank #1 with the tent.
Honorable mention: solar charger. On a day like today, it’s easy to forget how useful this has been. I have always been against solar chargers, as opposed to large capacity power banks, but gave this a shot anyways. It really does work…just not in this weather. It’s great for road walks, where I can just strap it up top of my pack and charge while I’m walking.
I should also give credit to my phone, without which, this blog would not be possible. I hate typing on it but am getting better. It also functions as my GPS, maps, notes, camera, etc. Sometimes I even use it as a phone! Everything else in my gearlist is pretty important to me, otherwise I wouldn’t be carrying it. But those are my favorites.