Start: 42nd Traverse (half way across) (1,037km)
Finish: National Park (1,113km)
Distance for the day: 76km
Cumulative distance: 1,113km
I’m back! The last two nights I’ve spent in remote places on the trail. Last night, having got in to Owhango for dinner at about 7pm, I decided to take off again with my fast pack to get some more distance in, and get stuck in to the 42nd Traverse (Pukepoto Forest). I probably covered around 15km before I called it a day, setup camp and got my head down for a few hours. The other advantage of this approach is being able to literally get up and go as soon as I wake up.
I woke up naturally around 5.30am and was back on the trail having packed my tent away, by 6am. I ran the remainder of the section without any food/ energy, but was drawn along by the thought of a full breakfast at the van once I popped out the other side. I certainly had a gap to fill then, and managed to put away a crazy amount of food before getting showered (the first since Christmas Day) and getting back on the trail, accompanied by Richard Bowles. It was great to have Richard running alongside me, and we put the world to rights, chatting away for a couple of hours.
I spent the day feeling pretty spaced out, not really knowing too much about what was going on, in my own little daze. Probably just tiredness and fatigue, but my brain is still able to process technical trail running whilst in such a state, which is the main thing….
Unfortunately my route across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was compromised by the recent eruption, so I had to settle for a road diversion and only a partial crossing, although I added a short out and back to top things up. I certainly don’t feel guilty about the slightly reduced distance after all the road diversions – I’m still well in credit….
Mark joined me for the final section of Tongariro and we enjoyed the varied trail which included volcanic rock, moorland and beautiful lush forest. Having bagged all that it already felt like a complete day, but unfortunately I had another 20km still to go, including 12km on the Whakapapaiti Track with several river crossings, forest and some very boggy bog. That was fine, but just as I was hitting the road ready for the final 7km blast to our overnight destination at National Park, the heavens opened, and boy did it rain….
So now all that remains between me and the start of the 120km Whanganui River descent (I will meet Mark at the remote and iconic Bridge to Knowhere, he will travel up by jet boat) – and at least a day and a half off running – is the small matter of 79km of pretty challenging terrain. Tomorrow will be a long, long day – even by my standards - but hopefully I can pull it off. If not, then I’ll be kipping in the woods somewhere again.
|Day 16: Finally out the forest after 54km across the Hauhungaroa Range - epic!|
|Running alongside the mother ship on Day 16 (Paul Charteris photo)|
|Final section of Tongariro|
|Horrible conditions for the final road section tonight|