A lovely round the backroads, slow, stop plenty kind of a drive today. I only needed to drive 40 or 50kms up the road to get to Waiouru so time was most definitely on my side. Arrived for the 3.30pm briefing in plenty of time. I figured if it was being run by Army personnel it would run to time and be formal. Wrong on both counts! Only very slightly late but that didn't matter in the slightest. The briefing was more like a casual chat - Eric the Army man, Sue from Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and myself. The only 'serious' part was the bit when Eric the Army man said that, whilst we were out on the ranges tomorrow, if I saw anything that didn't look like it should be there I should inform him immediately in case if was an undetonated.......something. I missed the something bit as my mind did a somersault at that moment at the thought of anything happening. He's 'reasonably sure' we'll be fine though.
I can't believe how I'm feeling about this trip. It's a feeling I remember from when I first started at Brownlow Primary School and again when starting at at teachers college and again when flying out to New Zealand for the first time. Excitement? Most definitely - but it's more than just plain excitement and I can't quite nail exactly what it is. It's all good though, so I'm very happy to live with it.
Staying tonight at the back of the National Army Museum........a freedom camping area made available by the Army. 9 other campers are here tonight so it seems to be a popular spot. I've spent much of this evening prepping for tomorrow - charging batteries, making decisions about lenses, packing camera bag, packing a range of clothing and making a packed lunch......it's all part of building the excitement. I'm not sure I'm going to sleep well tonight.
In COVID news, there were 147 new community cases reported today; 13 are in hospital land in 0 ICU. Today our PM made an announcement about the 5-stage plan to gradually open our borders to the rest of the world. I haven't absorbed all the details but the gist is that gradually more people will be allowed to travel into NZ with no need for an MIQ stay; rather, they will need to quarantine at home. This is a model based on trust but she acknowledged not everyone will do as asked. This will only apply to fully vaxed people. Unvaccinated people will still have to quarantine at MIQ facilities, presumably (hopefully) at their own cost. I'm sure there will be a lot of people around the world who will be feeling excited by this news.........probably even more so than I'm feeling about tomorrow's trip. And with that, I should head to bed and try to get some sleep.
What an exciting world we live in!