Jan 26, 2012

Distance today = 51.79 km; Total distance = 1335.45 km; Location = Taihape –  39 40.312′ S, 175 47.562′ E; Start time = 0835, Finish time = 1556


I had my hilliest day yet, with almost one kilometre of vertical ascent. One climb was 6 km long. Thankfully it was a mostly overcast and relatively cool day.

Annoyingly, I made a mistake by passing up the first cafe in the town of Mangaweka. I explored further into town before realising I was going to have to go back. So I turned off my GPS and backtracked to get something to eat and drink.

The lady in the cafe was very interested in my endeavour, and filled my water bottles from the tap out the back. And I’m doubling glad I went back, as I bought a smoked fish pie, which was delicious. For some reason it tasted very similar to the scallop pies in Tasmania.

The town of Mangaweka is very historic, and reminded me of the town of Carcoar in NSW (not exactly sure why, because they don’t look that much alike). There was a grand old Bank of New Zealand building on one corner, but it has clearly not been used for banking for some time.

Much of the day was spent paralleling the Rangitikei River. This river has huge scarred cliffs of dried mud. All the road cuttings display the same strata. I’m no geologist, but I can imagine that the top hundred metres or so of this region was deposited in ancient times in a huge mud slide when a volcano melted a glacier or caused a large lake to burst its sill. Maybe a real geologist can correct me or elaborate?

I made it to the town of Taihape today. This town, quite high in elevation with snow capped mountains in the distance, is what I imagine some of the towns will be like when I run through Colorado and other US states in the Rockies. By the way, the town is pronounced ‘Ty Happy’, so it’s a big hello to all the happy Ty men out there, especially those born on May 2.

Tomorrow I will finish in the shadow of Mount Ruahepu, the 2,800 metre high snow capped volcano. The views should be memorable (from below, of course).