Setting off for a short slackpack on Christmas day already soaking wet.
hike blog

TA Day 58, ‘slackpack’ Palmerston North to Kahuterawa Park, 21 km

Setting off for a short slackpack on Christmas day already soaking wet.
Setting off for a short slackpack on Christmas day already soaking wet.

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.

Summing up the situation perfectly on this rainiest Christmas in decades.
Summing up the situation perfectly on this rainiest Christmas in decades.
Auckland

TA Day 27, ‘slackpack’ Auckland – 18 km

An early example of goose down sewn into baffles in a 19th century coat at the historic Acacia Cottage.
An early example of goose down sewn into baffles in a 19th century coat at the historic Acacia Cottage.

I’m up and out before the house stirs in full rain gear. Just drizzle – and not cold – but a huge contrast on this second day of slackpacking. The generous offer has been given to stay, so I’m taking the time my body and soul craves here in Auckland before getting back on the trail and the big kilometer days ahead.

I arrive in leafy Cornwall Park encouraged to relax and enjoy – but leave the fireworks at home. It’s a gorgeous city park with magnificent trees and – cows! grazing in a field right in the middle of a city. 

It really begins pouring and several people comment how I picked a good day for my walk. I escape the rain in the Acacia cottage built by an influential settler. For a moment I feel like these people must have felt –  happy to have a solid roof over my head against the elements. A stylish 19th century down coat is spread out on the bed.

Auckland

TA Day 26, ‘slackpack’ Auckland – 9 km

A portrait of a Maori woman by Gottfried Lindauer in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
A portrait of a Maori woman by Gottfried Lindauer in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Slackpacking is section backpacking while sleeping in the same place each night

I’m a tourist right now, loosely “walking” the trail through Auckland on a bright sunny day. Back to the ferry building with the spectacular red lamps, popped into the DOC office to pick up my hut pass for the coming months, primarily in the south island.

I join a free walking tour and learn of a statue made in the 1960s to honor the Maori, and made by a woman – all sorts of impossible awarenesses converging. The sun burns, so I wear my hat and seek shade. At Queen and Customs, the signal stops all traffic and people casually pour into the street like a slow motion dance choreographed for some in choppy straight lines, others striding diagonally.