Day 16 Bridges of the Whanganui river
So excited to be back on the trail. Not how we planned it to temporarily have to skip over 1,195 km of it. But here we are dealing best we can with covid restrictions. It was weird being home for little more than an evening. Particularly as the house was all packed up ready for some renovations and no food supplies. Luckily dad stepped in with a lovely home cooked meal, cups of tea and breakfast for us. He then drove us the two hours to Whanganui this morning.
We settled on Upokongaro as starting point as a nice easy half day walk to get us back into the groove before being able to stay the night with Brian and Eileen. And Dad really wanted a reason to go check out the new bridge and also mosquito point which was a teenage haunt of his. We had a nice morning tea at the cafe together before we resumed our trail walk.
We called in at the Aromoho cemetery to visit the graves of three of my four grandparents. The fourth is still alive and well in New Plymouth. Also my Aunty who I was named after and uncle who both died young. Grandma and grandads site was booked by them years ago and they specifically chose it to be near the toilets. I appreciated their practical forethought as was quite ready for the toilets myself.
We were happily walking along counting off the bridges when we were accosted by Whanganui’s most famous trail angels looking for TA walkers to spread their magic to.
After a good little chat on the side of the road Rob and George insisted on taking us back to theirs for afternoon tea.
I think they were quite disappointed we already had family angels to be staying the night with. Their house and lives seem to revolve around being the ultimate service to TA walkers.
As well as feeding and watering us they gave us a mine of information about the trail and other angels. They’ve already put word out on our behalf to angels at every upcoming spot. They are the most generous, fun and genuine guys and a real privilege and pleasure to meet. They kindly dropped us back to the same spot so we could walk all our planned kms.
Shortly after reaching the last of the river bridges Brian came walking along the path to meet us and escort us to his home. Eileen and Brian have also now generously fed and wined us. We had lunch in New Plymouth with them only a few days before we left for cape reinga and they offered for us to stay on our way through. I don’t think any of us expected it to end up being this soon!
Day 16 ~ Walked 13 km ~ Start: Upokongaro ~ End: Whanganui (km 1364)