A short day today completed the Queen Charlotte Track, and took me to a holiday park just outside of Anakiwa.
The weather was great overnight, warm with some occasional wind, and my tent stayed nice and dry for the third day in a row.
I left Mistletoe Bay a few minutes after 7, still hoping to be able to get to the Smiths Farm Holiday Park ahead of the rain.
The rest of the Queen Charlotte Track flew by. Once I got back to the trail, the QCT/TA gently climbed over 4 km, before dropping a little more steeply back down to sea level.
The views weren’t as impressive as they had been yesterday, though that might have been because the sun was still fairly low in the sky and it was a bit cloudy, so the water didn’t have any vibrant colors. I was able to look back at Mistletoe Bay, though I couldn’t see the field I camped on.
With the sun low in the sky, I started without my sunglasses on. However, the wind was enough to blow loose dirt on the trail into the air, along with small flower petals, and I didn’t really want either in my eyes.
The forest continued to be lively. Cicadas were flying all over the place, rather clumsily at that, smacking into (or landing on) me several times. A goat on the trail stared at me for a little while before running down the slope into the forest; I suspected it wasn’t the only one, given the quantity of droppings nearby. I passed a mountain biker cycling uphill, as well as two couples out for a morning walk.
I also passed the Davies Bay campsite. It had quite a few nice, flat grassy campsites very nearly on the water. Shortly before the campsite, I reached a new milestone: 10,000 miles on long-distance trails.
I finished the 71 km of the Queen Charlotte Track and entered Anakiwa shortly before 10. This was roughly an hour earlier than I’d expected to get to town.
Stopping for a break nearly at the other side of town, I called the YHA again to check if any rooms had opened up. Unsurprisingly, they did not.
Leaving Anakiwa, I followed the road out of town, a road walk on a narrow windy road, until a dirt trail that I got glimpses of came up from below the road and joined it, as if were a sidewalk. I realized it had probably followed the whole way from town, but my map didn’t call it out, and I didn’t notice a trail marker near it.
The road passed a community pear and quince orchard. A little while later, I smelled a little bit of “ocean smell”, a rarity in New Zealand. Across a valley, wind gusts blew dirt off the exposed area on a deforested mountain.
I reached the Smiths Farm Holiday Park shortly after 11, and just before rain started. It felt a little lazy to stop here, so early in the day, but the next available camping or lodging opportunity is in another 15 km, in Havelock (where I’m heading tomorrow), and I didn’t want another 30 km day just before having to do a resupply and start the nine-day stretch through the Richmond Range.
With the weather forecast now calling for 90 - 120 km/hr wind gusts, I was quite keen on getting a cabin, however, they were all sold out. Barbara, one of the owners, explained that it was a long weekend because of Waitangi Day next week, which is why everything is booked up. (She also explained the phones issue yesterday: someone digging a driveway down the road cut through buried cable, knocking out phone and internet service for the whole area.)
She gave me a muffin (quite delicious!) and some feed for the animals on the farm (which I passed on), and described a walk through the property that goes to a waterfall, where you can see glowworms at night. That might be fun to do, though I suspect that either it will be raining, or the trail too wet, for the recommended late evening excursion.
After relaxing for a bit, I got a shower, which was fantastic, especially since I was given a towel to dry off with. (Most holiday parks make you pay extra for towels, if they even have any at all.)
While I was in the shower, it started pouring rain. For the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening, the rain came and went. The high winds I was concerned about didn’t seem to materialize.
I cooked dinner just in time, before a big rush of people also decided to start cooking. After, I made a reservation to stay in Havelock tomorrow, in a private room, which will aid handling my resupply. I’m not looking forward to the huge food carry necessary, but the alternative is to get off-trail in the middle of the Richmond Range, a logistical hassle.