Mon 18 January – Day 66
Loïc is off to work at Ohakea early leaving me in charge of locking up. I have a cooked breakfast treat at a local cafe then don my pack for the 20km walk to Feilding. It is fun reading the bull related signage everywhere even on the way out of town. The trail crosses the Rangitikei river by way of the SH1 bridge then detours on backroads to Feilding. It takes me a good few minutes waiting for a gap in the traffic before I can cross the highway safely. It is a shame that the trail doesn’t cross in front of the air force base, however I understand that there is less to see from the road since a earth wall has been constructed. I make do with a helicopter overhead and an airforce jet flying about. I was concerned that the road walk would be dull like yesterday however I’m pleasantly surprised with the variety of sights along this stretch to keep my interest up and mood buoyant. I stop to look at the airforce tramsmitting station with its humming dishes pointed to the sky. Signs warn of trespassing due to radiation. I’m curious to know what would be emitting radiation at any level, dangerous or not? The gate is locked so I don’t venture in to find out. Soon after I am at Mt Lees reserve. Gifted to the council by the late Ormond Wilson, the reserve and homestead he developed over a period of 70 years, Mt Lees is a unique reserve comprising gardens, exotic & native trees, picnic areas and walking tracks. Located on its grounds is the historic homestead and two summerhouses. There is a fascinating autobiographical account from Ormond Wilson detailing his trials and tribulations in developing the reserve.
Soon I am on the home stretch into Feilding. There are easy berms to walk on and I have a strong tail wind to push me along. At one point there are roadside plum trees that I can reach and have a fresh fruit snack. Shortly before Feilding the trail takes a right turn with the intention of potential views across the plains to Palmerston North and a view of the Tararua Range. Today they were shrouded in cloud however there was a new development of houses to look at instead. On the road down into town I came across another plum tree and some corrugated iron cows in the paddock. Feilding was quite sleepy today with little vehicles not people about. It began to rain so I found the ice cream shop before taking a look around town. In the afternoon John came to collect me. John is a trail angel and keen hunter and hiker. I had a lovely time with him and family. He is planning to do hike Te Araroa with his daughter in a couple of years.