12/18 To the Banks of the Whanganui

War Memorial to Whakahoro Hut

25 k

It dripped and drizzled on and off last night, but never really stormed like the thunder foreshadowed. It is still drizzling when the morning creeps in, which is a bit of a relief in the fact that it won’t be a scorcher today. Mario and Peach are out early. Prana and I type journals and emails until the need to hike becomes stronger.

We dispatch the entire 25 k before lunch. We stop for a break at the covered porch of a community hall out of habit rather than necessity, but the short day yesterday and gentle downhill of today leaves energy unspent and appetite unbuilt. I am on a ‘Dear Sugar’ binge all morning, and listen to 7 episodes. I love this podcast. I like to believe it makes me a more compassionate person by audio osmosis, and the literary recommendations are usually excellent. We reach the campsite on the river at 12:30, and enjoy lunch at a picnic table. The rest of the afternoon fritters away. Peach and I journal, Ellie finds a book on the take-one-leave-one shelf, the three boys work obsessively on crossword puzzles; coincidentally three answers are ‘Tim’ ‘Bro’ and ‘Mario,’ and their triumphant cheers for being featured in the puzzles fill the lazy afternoon air. We try to do pull-ups on the rafters of the cooking shelter: Prana is the champion, Mario takes second. Bro and I tie. The mandatory Crazy Sevens precede dinner: everyone is getting stronger at this masochistic ritual! We circle the same unsolved crossword clues without making any progress while assembling dinners menus that use up the last bits in our food bags.

Tomorrow, we paddle.

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