It was a bit of a rough night's sleep. Possums in our boots. A mouse in my pack. It was also hot. Sandflies meant no open windows.
We got up early enough to start the day's walk in the shade of the mountain behind the hut. The coolness seemed like a miracle after yesterday's heat.
We were moving fast. I felt like I may finally be in some sort of zone.
Then we came across Ros. That sounds a bit negative. My zone interrupted. Not at all.
Ros was a box of birds. A Kiwi Sobo Sectioneer from Whangarei who was being supported by her husband in a vehicle. They have a B&B that sits on the trail so are probably familiar to many TeA walkers.
They also have strong connections to a Kiwi sanctuary on the Whangarei Heads. A sanctuary that because of good geography and good community support is increasing is population of birds.
Ros and her husband Hugh were now today's TeA Nice Guys. In a bit of a break from tradition we haven't nominated them for the honour because of anything to do with us.
15 months ago Ros gave Hugh of her kidneys. We figure that's about as nice as it gets - giving away a vital organ.
They are now doing the trail, for fun like us, but also to raise awareness for people who find themselves needing a transplant. Hubby mostly rides shotgun for Ros but does a bit of walking and bike riding too.
Whiona works with kidney patients in her work so there was a bit of hospital talk on the side of the track. Not enough to make me queasy though.
Six ks on and we got to the first hut of the day. Boundary Hut looks like a hideous plastic school prefab that's been accidentally left in a panoramic shot from Game of Throwns. The scenery is spectacular but the set is a blooper. However once you get inside it's really nice and almost innovative. Four double beds. Brilliant.
We had some go-juice and a bite to eat. At which stage my "zone" vaporised. I was sluggish for the rest of the day.
We walked on up glacial valleys in the sun and into a strong but cooling head winds. Water from the heavy rains earlier in the week was everywhere...oozing out of the mountains.
A couple of clicks from the day's destination we stopped for a dip under an inviting but freezing waterfall. Our toes were so cold afterward they felt like they'd been hit by hammers. My dodgy little toe decided it was sore for the rest of the day after that...bugger.
Taipo Hut is the same design as Boundary Hut. Ugly but practical. We shared it with Claire again who was excited that a couple of French speaking Swiss were there too.
Beatrice and Engelburt were filling time while they waited to go on the Milford Track. This was their 12th visit to New Zealand.
Then Mark walked in. The 6 foot three American was on his 90th day on the trail. An ex Pepsi exec he is clearly goal focused. He was putting in some huge days and planned a 50k monster when he woke up the next morning.
We talked politics for a bit and turned in.