It rained last night and is still raining all morning. I have tea and toast with Robb as Tara hands me a present snuck under the tree by the fat, orange tabby, Fred – tuna packets, nuts and chocolate!
I forget to mention last night in Val and Tony’s neighborhood are huge light displays with everyone out to enjoy. Quite American, actually and it made me miss home.
No one is out today in this grim weather. Christmas is a wash with constant rain, so I ask Robb and Tara if they might allow me to slackpack this portion of the trail rather than move on and camp tonight, then join their family for more holiday cheer. And they say, yes, giving me the best Christmas present ever to do this. I want to pick up k’s, but would like to stay dry if at all possible.
In New Zealand, ‘showers’ means a burst of downpours followed by clearing. ‘Rain’ means non-stop precipitation. The forecast for today is the latter. I walk on a bike path to Massey University which is absolutely deserted and prepare for tramping track that turns out to be just lovely, puddly Bledisloe Park.
I slosh through the Upper Turitea green corridor and decide road walking is fine on such a wet day. The foothills loom above me in the gloom. Up and up I go as the road turns to track. At a junction, a sign tells me I am at the halfway point to Bluff. At that moment the rain stops and the sun comes out, I kid you not.
I speed up as the track turns to country road and follows a fast moving river into the forest. My slackpack ends for the day and Robb picks me up and brings me to Tara’s youngest sister Amy’s house for piles of food and drinks and more “other” family time.
A tent goes up in the sunshine before the thunder rumbles and we get a biblical downpour, all the food passed one hand to the next and into the house through the window.
There’s only one thing to do in a situation like this – make popcorn and watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’
It really is pretty wonderful, rain and all. The best Christmas present ever to get a few k’s under my belt, then get rescued from most certainly an awful night camping in a swamp.
The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow, so off I’ll go and hope the rivers aren’t too swollen. But that’s for tomorrow. Right now Clarence is trying to get his wings.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!