We woke and performed the usual morning routines, parlez vous'd some Englaise, then sauntered down the valley to meet our ride.
Nico and Lucy went first as we weren't meeting Pania, our own personal Trail Nice Guy, until noon...but we soon caught up with them as they talked with a small group of Sobos who'd just arrived on the track from Methven.
It was a good day for a chat, a chat that lasted about 45 minutes. This is quite long, but not unusual for the trail.
People use these random but inevitable meetings as a way of passing on important information about the track, the weather, towns and other walkers. It's also really interesting learning about a very diverse bunch of people with only one thing in common...the thin red line on a map called Te Araroa.
We all seem to be interested in each others stories and willing to share. Language is rarely a barrier and on the few occasions it has been, we've found a lot can be gleaned with patience and a smile, shrug or nod.
Coming out of the hills and down to the Rakaia River we had to negotiate a large herd of Prime Angus...one of which had recently died. The poor girl was ripening nicely in the summer heat and looked like she would be exploding in a mess of diabolical gas and putridity within a matter of days.
Notwithstanding this massive rotting carcus - a temporary glitch - the Rakaia River is one of TeA's tricky bits.
The braided river is usually too treacherous for walkers to think about crossing so most hitch down the 50 or so kilometres to Methven, then after restocking and/or a break, hitch up the other side to Lake Coleridge Village.
We planned a two night break in Methven ...and hoped that was alright with our host...which it was.
Highlights of our stay in the Big Smoke:
It rained - always good on a zero day.
We watched the news...and got to wonder why again.
We drank wine.
We ate roast vegetables.
We went to the movies where we watched Mr Turner and found it to be most agreeable.
We went to a couple of cafes, one of which was able to be quirky good AND quirky bad.
We sat in big and comfortable armchairs for several hours at a time.
We slept in a bed with sheets, pillows and blankets.
We got to use a bathroom - several times.
We hung out with a couple of actual cats.
We used a washing machine.
We went to two supermarkets - although didn't go to the fish'n'chip shop for a hamburger.
We charged all of our electrical devices.
I had toast.