Te Kuiti (km913)
They weren’t kidding about the winds. They definitely felt like tropical storm force winds. Not good when you’re trying to sleep in a tent. I had a rough night. At first it was just rain and normal wind. I stayed nice and dry but had anxiety over what might happen if the winds picked up. I drifted in and out of sleep, waking to my tent shaking in the stronger and stronger gusts. There were no trees directly above me…but neither were there any above Mike the night he got clobbered.
Around 4:30 am, I heard something near Don’s house go flying. It was probably the moment that his chicken coop got blown down…with the poor chickens inside! They’re all ok. But I might have had a similar fate, had I waited much longer. There was a lull in the rain and I wasn’t getting anymore sleep, so I packed up in the dark and headed for the lounge. It took me less than 15 minutes. Amazingly, because the wind was so strong, my tent was nearly dry when I stowed it. It did a great job at withstanding the conditions but it’s just not worth risking damage to it when there are other alternatives. I don’t think many tents are designed for such conditions, save for those 4 season mountaineering ones that can cling to the sides of Mt Everest.
The strong winds continued all day. Some forecasts called for it to die down by 10 am, so I hatched a plan of starting the timber trail and walking to the first hut 20 km in. The problem is that the hut has only 4 bunks, so if full, I would be in for another stormy night. I suspected there might already be some people there. Conditions did not improve by 10, so I just resigned myself to staying put. It’s a fun crowd and we made the most of having hundreds, if not thousands, of movies.
Steffen and Manu got really excited about the prospect of watching Titanic.
It was a relaxing day lounging on the couch and eating. Although the weather had improved by that night, Don was really cool and let me just sleep in the lounge. I had already passed out there watching the late night movie anyways.