Well that was probably the hardest day so far. I expected Pakiri to Dome cafe (permanently closed) to be 25km according to official guide but it actually measured 31km on my Garmin watch. I’m finding that KM markers are not at all accurate terms of actual distance. It took me 13 exhausting hours. Morning started fine with the hilltops covered in clouds. Two kingfishers observed my passing through farmland. It soon got muddy and that’s how it pretty much stayed all day. Just after I crossed Matakana Valley Road, the heavens opened up big time. There was a shed just off the track so I thought I’ll see if the door was open. It wasn’t. But as I walked away, the door opened and a guy looked out to see who was trying to get into his shed. Awkward. But Neil invited me in out of the rain. He was restoring a 1958 Land Rover and we chatted while I had lunch. For probably too long, I think I was there about an hour. The rest of the day was a blur of forest, rain and mud. I’d gone a bit light on food and didn’t have energy bars or lollies to keep energy levels up. I’d forgotten how was essential that had been in the build up to my marathon run last year. Got to Dome Cafe just before dark. The others had been getting a little worried. It was so good to be finally there. The tent area was flooded so we slept in the open under the verandah and out of the pouring rain.
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