Days 19-20 Bulls to Palmerston North via Feilding
The forecast was for morning showers so we opted for a bit of a lie in then a cafe breakfast to wait them out.
Turned out to be the perfect plan as it cleared up to a hot sunny day. It was gusty windy although thankfully never a head wind. The gusts were strong enough to blow us over seeing as we’re so lightweight now. Lol. (For those interested I did drop 2kg in first 2 weeks - I did a quick check when home).
As we were heading out of Bulls I heard a faint calling of our names which seemed odd. Turning around we saw Carol running towards us. She’d been following our blog and was looking out for us. She was excited to spot us and we were just as excited to see her too. She just wanted to say hello and wish us well. Thanks Carol.
As we were so near Ohakea planes and helicopters were constantly buzzing overhead. One of them would have been our previous nights trail angel.
The initial road walking was very pleasant countryside with barely any traffic. And even when vehicles did pass by there was usually nice flat grass to move onto. And lots of kind farmers mow their verges.
It was mainly sheep and beef farms. We love how the young bulls come racing over to the fence line to check us out. Then stand stock still and just stare at us. They even stop chewing their food.
We are obviously a novelty not only to the cattle. A guy in a car with a dog in a dog box on top returned to pass us again while videoing us. Then he turned to pass us again this time slowing to our pace and questioning us and recording the whole time with his phone. Who knows where that might turn up??
At one stage we even saw the beginning of the Tararuas in the distance. We’ll have to decide in the next day or two if it’s safe enough weather wise to attempt them now or to come back in warmer weather.
With all the road walking we’ve been doing we’ve seen a lot of litter. It’s such a shame we don’t have the capability to pick it up. Mostly it’s bottles and cans. But I did see this blast from the past.
With our blisters and sore feet from the last two 32 km days today was quite tough. Thankfully our bodies are still holding up well. We were pretty happy to finally make it into Feilding. It took us over five hours for the 22 km which is pretty slow! We didn’t stop at all as our big breakfasts got us through and the feet hurt more when restarting after a stop. I added up that it was 99km walked over the last 4 days and if I had of realised that at any point during the day I would not have wanted to do an extra km to tick it over to 100.
We arrived just in time to watch the government’s 4pm announcement on alert levels. I’m so pleased for those that have stuck it out in Northland that they can now continue on their way. It’s a shame for all of us doing the TA this season that it is so disjointed and so few of us able to do it at all. We are missing the social side of connecting with fellow walkers. We are almost three weeks in and have only met three others in person. Additionally we are not on similar schedules to anyone. Andrew who started the same day as us, left northland during lockdown and has started nobo (northbound) from Wellington. Marcus who started the day after us and we met in Ahipara has remained in northland so can now continue sobo. And yesterday we crossed paths with and spent a few minutes chatting to Michael who began nobo from Wellington a week or two ago. We of course also left Northland during lockdown and are continuing sobo from Whanganui.
Darlene my Aunt my Palmerston North came to join us for morning tea in Feilding before setting out. Part of that plan was so we could then also get a ride to skip the first 9km of today’s section which was dead straight road walking. Our feet are suffering and we don’t want to extend the damage.
It was a great plan as starting at Bunnythorpe we were straight into some farm walking. The soft ground was a pleasure to walk on even when it was muddy and boggy. A huge thanks to the farmers for allowing access to their land.
Soon after we were on a pathway through the industrial outskirts of Palmerston North which while not the most scenic did give us lots to look at. We stopped for a pie and toilet break at some suburban shops. I’m not used to going into shops dressed in such a state.
From the fringe suburbs we arrived at a beautiful old cemetery where Darlene had walked to meet us.
It was great having a new source of conversation and the remaining kilometres ticked over fairly quickly. This part of the trail followed the Manawatu river pathway.
Joining us for dinner tonight is a tramping club friend of Darlene’s who has previously done the TA so we’ll pick both their brains (Darlene also being an experienced local tramper) and come up with a plan for the Tararuas.
Day 19~ Walked 22 km ~ Start: Bulls ~ End: Feilding (km 1450)
Day 20~ Walked 14 km, drove 9km~ Start: Feilding~ End: Palmerston North (km 1473)