Te Araroa day 90 – my first earthquake 

March 2nd 2017
Hanmer Springs / Boyle village – Hope Kiwi hut
15.7 miles 
Total distance: 1312.3 miles

I woke in the morning and I felt like someone was shaking my bed, it rocked back and forth 5 or 6 times. I didn’t know what was happening, and I reached out to feel the wall but by then it had stopped and I thought nothing more of it. We checked the news of the fire, it had taken 8 helicopters and 55 fire crew to tackle the reported 6 fires, but they had managed to get it 100% contained and under control. The road was open again and we were good to go. 


We took our time getting ready, I made myself some more eggy bread and then ran to the loo to get rid of my avocado as quickly as I ate it. Good food is bad for you! I made my couscous with tomato soup packet for flavour. The couscous is a new thing on the food list in a bid to find something I can choke down, it can be cold soaked which I will be doing after today, but as I had access to hot water I made it hot and it will cool throughout the day, which is somehow psychologically easier to think about eating. Hot food gone cold, ok. Cold soaked food, gross. 


Anyway, we packed up and were ready to leave by our 10am checkout time. This YHA is a family run business and they are really lovely. Sandy and Colin were going to camp outside but the mother said it was too cold and gave them a room for no extra cost. I had that feeling you get when you’ve been in town for a while, where you don’t really want to go back to the trail, where you have that slight dread of what’s to come, where you feel tired and broken and ready to stop walking. 

We wondered about town for a bit and then decided there was nothing left to do but to hitch back to the trail. We stood where we had been dropped off, I did question if we were standing in the right place but we just made the assumption that we must be in the right place. A nice lady spoke to us and asked us what we were doing, she came back a few minutes later to tell us we would be better trying to hitch a ride in a different place, what she meant was on a road that actually goes where we want it to go! We were very grateful to that lady for helping us out. 

In the right place we stuck out our thumbs and within about 2 minutes a guy walking down the street asked us where we were trying to get to. The man was driving to Nelson and our stop was on the way. Perfect. They were a really nice couple called Wes and Lucy from Yorkshire / Norfolk in the UK, here on their holidays. They had some great stories to tell. We drove past the burn area and could see how it had crossed the road and burnt both sides, there were still a few fire crew out there. They told us there were two earthquakes last night. So that’s what the bed shaking was all about. My first earthquake! Wes and Lucy took us to the exact spot we were picked up from and a cloudy morning had now turned into a boiling hot day. The sand flies were outrageous, and within a few seconds we were swarmed by them, which became a bit of a theme for the day. 


We headed on down the trail for a short distance before coming to the first of two major river crossings we knew about. We had heard some terrible stories about them so we were hoping that the recent fine weather would work in our favour, and it did. The first one we crossed was the Boyle river and it was knee deep at most. Flowing fairly strongly but nothing a strong position facing upstream couldn’t handle. We knew dry shoes were an impossibility today. What we weren’t prepared for was muddy bog. We walked through a patch which was a lot deeper than we anticipated, going over the knee, and it smelt gross. We were so clean from the hot springs, now we were covered in gross stinky mud! At least we had a second river crossing to wash it off in. 


A short while later we crossed the Doubtful river where it joined the Boyle river, we walked upstream a little bit to find the best crossing point which was where a bunch of smaller streams converge into one big one which was flowing strong and fast, but the little crossings were easy and mostly ankle deep. No problems at all. 


The trail continued on and it was really hot now, hot and humid in the more exposed sections of the trail. The navigation app we use was a bit off in a few places today and that lead to a bit of a bigger climb than we had anticipated but really, compared to what we had been climbing recently it was hardly a climb at all, but my pack was heavy with a full resupply and my body was in shock after the relaxation yesterday so it was still slow going. We hadn’t started walking until 12:40 and we had quite a few miles to do so we had to keep going. 

After the climbs the trail continues through the forest which provided some relief from the heat and the trail was really nicely graded and a nice walk, we had a brief stop for lunch but the sand flies were too bad. The trail then opens out into plains and we got some views of the river in the valley again. There were some really wet boggy areas and although my feet were wet I was still trying to avoid getting too muddy, one particular acrobatic leap saw a pain shoot through my hip.  


I was getting really tired by the last mile and my hip and shoulder were giving me the most problems, I was really thirsty but didn’t want to stop to get water, and I really needed a wee bit didn’t want to stop because of the sand flies. I was relieved to see the hut and saw a whole bunch of shoes and poles lined up outside so it was busy. Despite feeling tired and sore I felt like a total champion compared to this morning, I hadn’t really wanted to walk today but I’d made it anyway. Mind over matter.  


The sand flies were in swarms and it made getting water difficult, but I managed to get a bottom bunk in a room with a couple of Kiwi girls and we had our dinner with a boy from East Finchley. All these people are heading north. There were about 4 others in the hut I think. 

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I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps. 

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