I reluctantly left my bed in the hostel this morning to get back on the saddle. It sure helped that the sun was shining and the weather looked to be warm and partially cloudy all day. The two nights in the YHA left me feeling regenerated and fresher than I have in a long while. Having a soft bed and the ability to stretch out and roll around was beautiful but the second night my bunk mates came and went until rather late at night and I wasn't a fan of waking up to the lights being turned back on. I guess I got used to sun down meaning lights out. I'm sure I'll see another hostel bed before this trip is over it as I head to the North Island before the new year I hope to make more use of warm showers as the towns are much more populated. So overall not to sad about being back in the tent. It was neat to think about how lightly I could pack if I wasn't camping, though.
James and I need to be in Hokitika tomorrow so we wanted to get at least to Harihari (52km) today. Figured we would play it by ear at that point. Now right before Harihari is a slightly grueling climb over Mt. Hercules. I guess this wasn't as bad as the name would lead you to believe, fortunately. The climb peaked at 185m and outside of the biting 13% for the last 600m it wasn't too rough. As usual I left James behind and got to take a rest at the bottom while waiting for him to catch up. He's new to cycling and even newer than I am to touring so it's still pretty impressive that he's making these climbs at any speed without stopping or walking.
We rolled into Harihari, a nice small town, and stopped for lunch at a picnic area. James took a nap and I read for a while. Neither of us had much motivation to keep pedaling it seemed. We eventually decided we should press on to the DoC camp another 18km down the road but as we got to the middle of town we saw a hand painted free camping sign. Well okay, sure, so I get a coffee and we change plans to go pitch there in a bit. After another hour of sitting and letting our legs turn to stone we go back to the sign and say hi to the people there. Apparently the sign was for something going on in town yesterday and we couldn't camp there today. Meh, on the road we went, now tired and a little bummed.
We make it to the DoC site and pitch the tents on the edge of a lake and cook dinner next to them. What a life!