Twig Adventures

Day 61: Stormy weather

February 1st

Up from Torea saddle (km1781.5)- Havelock (km1818)

Mileage: 22.7mi/36.5km

As I feared, the wind came up through the night. My site at the top of the ridge was pretty protected but not enough for the strong gales. You sleep pretty poorly when your tent is constantly shaking or the trees around you are waving wildly. There were some branches banging together all night, like wooden wind chimes. I was ready for the dawn and already packing up before it was light. I felt a sense of urgency and wanted to beat the rain while my tent was still dry. I was on the trail by 0630 am, which was good, because I just got a glimpse of the sunrise. I figured that might be all I see of the sun on this day.

Looking towards the direction of the storm on the other side of the ridge wasn’t as nice a picture.

I was pretty much right about the lack of sun. It started raining by 0830 am and pissed all day long. It was driving, sideways rain too. At first I was able to manage the umbrella but after getting to the more exposed road section, the strong winds defeated it.

Then I got to test my rain jacket, which of course had left me pretty soaked by the end of the day. It was a lot of constant, heavy rain, after all. I think I got wet inside just from rain blowing into my face and running down my neck. The winds seemed to blow from every direction but mostly into my face. In case you didn’t know, walking in the remnants of a tropical storm is no picnic. But it was all ok because I knew I could have a dry roof over my head by the end of the day.

I was surprised that even a part of the QCT was underwater. A combination of the extreme high tides and all the water being pushed up the sound by the strong winds, plus all the rain had flooded the trail near Davie’s Bay. In the picture you can see that the little boardwalk over the creek is completely submerged. Some not-so-happy campers had their tent pitched within a few feet of the water, too. A great example of the extreme weather NZ deals with and how quickly conditions can change.

The 18 km road walk wasn’t too bad because they have built a gravel path alongside most of the way. But in the rain, it seemed to take forever. It would have been so much easier just to hitch, but I toughed it out. It was a good test to see how my rain gear holds up…not that great it turns out. Then again, what does hold up against sideways rain?

At least there were lots of great mailboxes today. But no pettings. Boo.

I arrived Havelock in record time around 3 pm. I went to see if the holiday park had received my bag of food, they hadn’t, so I got one of just 3 remaining beds at the blue moon backpacker. I was a little miffed that the bunk room was actually a cabin outside, so I still had to walk through the rain to get to the bathrooms and kitchen. I dropped some of my dry clothes on the ground trying to make the sprint across, so that sucked.

I met TA hiker Kirsten in my bunk room. She is a kiwi living in Australia and married to an American. There is another American Justin that just started the TA on the SI. He is from Michigan, so he has been struggling with the heat. There are a few other TA walkers at the holiday park, including Simon and Hannah that started on the same day as me. We are all holed up here for a few days waiting for better weather before starting the Richmond Range. Also, many are reporting the same gastrointestinal discomfort, so it sounds like we may have all got it recently from the same source. I suspect one of the huts from the Tararuas. So far my issues haven’t been a show-stopper or even slowed me down, but Simon is really sick today.

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