This has been an awfully lazy holiday. And I haven't exactly been up early often. So when I decided that today was the day I would walk my old 'training' circuit, Old West-Turitea-Greens-Kahuterawa Rds, I knew I would have to set the alarm to get up early enough to beat the heat at the end of my walk.
The alarm came as an awful shock before 6am. I had prepared my day pack yesterday evening, so somewhere in my befuddled brain I knew I was off out walking, but somehow I forgot I was at home, and in my confused state I was trying to work out exactly which village in France or Spain I was in, and what day it was....etc.....
I set off with the early morning sunshine, and after an hour or so I met the traffic on Turitea Rd starting the journey to work. And shortly after that I became desperate for a cafe in the next local village where I could get a cola kao con leche. No such luck on the rural New Zealand route I was on of course!!
I was glad to reach upper Turitea then Greens Rd, where I got to climb. I had forgotten quite how steep some of these climbs were. But I see now why they stood me in good stead when I had to climb up and down so much in the early days from Le Puy.
The first part of the climbing was in lovely shady bush, but later on the walk became more exposed to the sunshine.
After three hours walking I felt quite tired!! But a circuit is a circuit, and I was only just over halfway. I sat down on the grass verge for a snack, enjoying the hill view. At least I didn't have to worry about snakes in the grass here at home, just the odd cowpat or two.
After four hours walking I received my 'reward': at the high point along Greens Rd you suddenly emerge to this view over the Manawatu Plains. I remembered walking here not too long after I arrived home one winter's day, when it was bitterly cold, wet and windy along here, and I needed to don all my warm layers. Today by comparison, it was obvious from the outset I had much more need of sunscreen and a sunhat and plenty of water to drink.
Lovely blue skies, and warm and calm today.
I thought I caught sight of the red under-feathers of a kaka swooping by.
And finally I was into the home stretch down Kahuterawa Rd. We used to have a Camino saying that the last four kms is the hardest, no matter whether you walk 14km or 28km. Today I walked about 20km at a guess. And the last four kms did feel like the hardest! The soles of my feet are not quite as accustomed to walking as they were just a few months ago!!
But ahhhhhh........ it was a lovely summer's day!
Postscript: Next day: I didn't wake before 6am today- without benefit of the alarm I was back in holiday mode and it was nearly 8am. My muscles are also a bit stiff, unaccustomed as I am to regular long walks now!!!