Day 10: Random Field to Piropiro (Timber Trail)
Waking up in the Random Field before the sun means that my tent and just about everything in it was wet. And not just a little wet, but like my bag weighed twice as much as yesterday wet. It was also the coldest day I've felt in NZ in a long time. In short, pretty miserable. Even downhills were a double edged sword with the icy wind.
So if yesterday was rough, this morning was worse. The ride to and from this crazy, tiny wire bridge (not to mention getting across the bridge) was so hard. I kept slipping and getting caught on things and couldn't do more than a few pedals before stopping and starting or walking. I even somehow got a thorny branch lodged between my legs. I was so beyond frustrated. At one point I just screamed in frustration. But I think it came out the like a pitiful bleet of a dying sheep. I was so not having fun and SO effing over the day already. Um, this was over a distance of less than 5km...and about 8:30am.
Then part of the instructions confused us and basically we went all the way around one of the photo check in points without actually seeing The Center of the North Island landmark. It was the most annoying and endless series of gravel roads and uphill climbs. Did I cry? Funny you should ask. Yes. I wanted to prostrate myself on the road and just weep. But I didn't have time for that so I multitasked by crying and pushing my bike.
We were heading to the Timber Trail in hopes of starting it today. I use the word "hope" loosely here. We were debating even doing it but this hellish route today was all to get here and it seemed a shame to miss it if it was a good trail.
We were sitting at the entrance to a shortcut to the path, debating the merits of continuing, eating lunch and letting our tents dry when our new English friend Conrad pulled up. He had to play catch up from Auckland and we were happy to have him join us. There was a group of DOC (Dept of Conservation) workers sitting nearby and they had some food leftover from an event and offered us some. I called them angels of mercy but they probably couldn't understand through my mouthfuls of cookies and BBQ chips.
In much better spirits, we decided to start the Timber Trail. It was 15km or so of intense climbing and then another 25km to the campsite. Even though we were so tired and that first bit was a hard climb, this was is the kind of trail I had been excited to ride on the TA. It was beautiful and shaded and actually FUN!
It took us longer than expected to get to the campsite #storyoftheTA. We were so so so tired but so happy to stop here. Food, water bottle showers, tents up before the sunset. And the campsite was free! Every free site makes me feel I can justify a hostel or cabin in the future haha.