56km to the next city, Te Kuiti. The first 40km all on gravel road or State Highway. I was woken up this morning by an enormous bird concert. I have not had such a loud and diverse bird concert so far. Loud and many different species. R2D2 was as well in the orchestra again.
And then I started walking on the road. That’s what many SOBO mentioned when we talked about the North Island – a lot of road walking. The scenery was as well from limited beauty I have to admit.

And than this! Not only was it a little bit boring anyways, now I also had to slow down and wasn’t allowed my normal speed…

But at least the day was nice and the sun was back again. So I made km by km through the farmland, which looks like this most of the time.

The good and the bad thing about road walking is – you have a lot of time to think. And that’s what I did. Starting from thoughts about where to find water and a place to sleep tonight, over what all had happened in the last two years and actually made me walk on this gravel road now. Is that really what I wanted? I thought a lot about my friends, so you, especially after I had received so many wishes and greetings to my birthday. I have the feeling as much as I like being outdoors and also by myself I am to much of a social person relaying on the interaction with my close circle. And then there are of course the many thoughts about what lies ahead. Even though I gave myself at least a year not to think about work I can’t stop thinking about what I actually want to do. And maybe even closer and more tangible – what’s going to happen after the trail is over? Life at the moment is easy: walk, eat, sleep – repeat. It is a scary thought that this will have an end which is rather sooner than later. Maybe I have to walk slower.
Today didn’t help in that case. After a farmer stopped me on the last little bit of the road and gave me some fresh water from his own spring I continued over an more and more overgrown 4×4 track into the bush and over farmland.

At five I had the perfect campspot right next to a cliff on super soft grass but I continued – of course.

Ending in a battle of finding a flat piece of ground at all after six and sunset. I did find a spot right next to the river and even sheltered underneath trees which keeps everything a little bit dryer.

At the end it had been 42km today! Wow, longest stretch so far I think. And only 13km left to Te Kuiti. That means a late breakfast coffee for me tomorrow ?
Did some trail planning for the next stretch to Hamilton.