Windy, and not even to Wellington yet!

A whirl-wind week of walking (how’s that for alliteration?) has seen me chew through some serious kilometres.

From Turakina Beach I was ambushed in the forest by a herd of noisy Marton Scouts on bicycles. They escorted me – well, they left me in their wake – all the way to Bulls. They couldn’t quite convince me to buy them all a memora-Bull icecream but we did have yummy sausages at the Marton den, cooked courtesy of the Venturers.

One of the Marton Scouts tries hard not to look guilty... adora-Bull 😉

After a comfy night at Kevin and Karyn Randles’ home, I answered a raft of probing questions from Marton Primary School students in their morning assembly. Then it was a hot day walking to Feilding and Bunnythorpe. It was nice and cool though joining the Eastman Rover Crew in Palmerston North for a relaxed, tasty-food evening.

National Rover Leader Michelle Forrest dropped me back to Bunnythorpe and I spent the day skirting Palmy and strolling along the Manawatu River. Ex-Host Corps member Andrew Tyrrell dragged me in to Massey Uni to say hi to the Alpine Club members. This meant I was standing amongst thousands of students in the central quad as the 2-minutes of silence were observed to mark the Christchurch earthquake. Eerie. Sincere. Moving.

Creative mailbox - there was a cluster of horse-float, camera and chainsaw.

It wasn’t until I completed that day that I realised (well, Michelle pointed out) that my planned route was closed for forestry logging. Rats! Am I up to Plan D now, or is it M or even V?

A beeline down SH47, all the way from Massey Uni to Levin, created the biggest day yet = 45km. I was rather happy to reach St Marys Scouts, get some dinner and then again answer questions from the youth. They’re always so curious – it makes me smile.

The cat was quite interested in the lizard... I wonder why? 😀

Fair to say Scout Leader Barry Fitzgerald has the most unusual pet I’ve encountered so far: a blue-tongued lizard with scales that feel like plastic.

The weather forecast put a dampener on following Te Araroa into the Tararua Ranges – not the kind of place to be with ‘heavy rain warnings’ issued. SH1 was the replacement, which is good and bad: good because it generally has a wide shoulder to walk along but bad because it is b-u-s-y with traffic.

Tatum Park - still a place of fond memories.

Called in at a very attractive Tatum Park – how could I not visit the former National Scout Training Centre? Collapsed on the grass at Otaki, foot weary. Christine Culling met me and before you can say “How many pairs of shoes have you gone through?” (the answer to which is “I’m still using the pair I wore at Cape Reinga”) I was again answering questions – this time from the energetic and well-spoken kids at Otaki Children’s Health Camp.

Loving the adventure. Loving this country.

The day closed in Waikanae – another 30km+ day. Jackie and Clive Williams are playing host, as today I decided not to venture into the wind and downpour, instead giving my feet a breather. I think a nap might be on the agenda too, which is surprising considering I’m only about three more days of walking from finishing this island. Half way. 50%. Weird…

About Stuart Fleming

Just a guy who likes to walk and write.
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