Te Araroa day 97 – end of the road

March 9th 2017
Trust Power campsite – Lake Coleridge / Methven
17.8 miles 
Total distance: 1411.3 miles

It was absolutely freezing. The alarm went off at 6:30am and it was still so dark there were stars out. I had a real mental battle to try and get out of my sleeping bag. So I did as much as I could still inside it until there was nothing left to do. I layered up and quickly packed away my tent. I think this was the first time I had worn my gloves on the trail. 

Putting on my freezing wet socks was really unpleasant but once they were on it was ok. Colin, Sandy and I all set off together for the long dirt road walk to Lake Coleridge. It was about 15 miles of mostly flat gravel road and we walked it as fast as we could. We gradually delayered throughout the morning as the sun appeared over the mountains and it warmed up. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was a beautiful day, but it was still very cold in the shade. Although the road couldn’t really be described as busy, it had more traffic on it than I expected. We walked together on and off and listened to music, chatted and told stories. Colin was having a lot of trouble with his foot and Sandy was feeling tired so I unusually found myself out in front. 



Eventually the easy dirt road walking ends and we crossed farmland on a 4wd track, through some long grass and then down past the shores of lake Coleridge. Thankfully it stayed dry all day and our shoes and socks dried out. After briefly passing through the arboretum we found ourselves at Lake Coleridge lodge at 1:15pm. Having not stopped at all other than to delayer we were in need of food, so we took a quick break before heading out to the road to try and hitch a ride. We heard that the hitch is a fairly easy one as long as you get to the road before 5pm. 


Well, it wasn’t that easy! There were three of us which possibly made it a bit harder but there was very little traffic on the road. We stood further down the road by Lake Coleridge Village in the hope we may catch a local heading to town. We were there for an hour and 45 minutes and we had been passed by about 4 cars. Eventually a very kind lady took us to the end of the road to the highway so we could have a better chance of hitching. The lady asked not to be named so I’m respecting that. She was nervous about picking up hitchhikers but only agreed to take us because two of us were women. 


Once at the road there was a lot more traffic and we were picked up within 5 minutes by a man called Tom, and I had the worst ride ever to town. Tom was drinking Jack Daniels and coke from a can while driving, and he was driving very fast and overtaking a lot. He did offer us a place to stay for free, but judging by the state of his van and his behaviour it wasn’t somewhere any of us were keen on staying. He dropped us off in town and I was glad to have made it in one piece. Both Sandy and Colin are having some problems with their feet so we made a trip to the pharmacy for them to get some creams and potions and then set about finding somewhere to stay. We chose the campground as it was only $13 each to pitch our tents and there were all the amenities we needed there. On our way there we saw Colin and Sian getting out a car and they said of the three hitches they got to get here, two of them were drinking alcohol while they were driving. 

We set up and then headed into town to get food. Having eaten only sweets and chocolate all day and a few crackers at lunch, now it was 6pm and I was absolutely starving. We had heard there was an all you can eat Thai buffet in town but we were disappointed to find out it was only on a Wednesday and a Friday and today was Thursday which was a bummer. But we went to the Thai anyway and all ordered Pad Thai. It was delicious and the broccoli was especially delicious. I could feel it spreading its goodness through my body. 

I felt utterly stuffed and uncomfortable after eating every single scrap, then we went to the supervalue supermarket to resupply. Again I bought a whole bunch of random things to hopefully keep me alive for the next 6 days and also drank a chocolate milk which I really didn’t need, but it did taste wonderful. I pop into the 4 square just to check if there is anything I missed out on and find Sian and Colin staring into the ice cream freezer. They have decided to stay here tomorrow and take a zero. We walk with them for a bit and they go off to the hostel as we turn off to the campground. I hope we see them again, they are really nice. 

Back at the holiday park we organise our food and hang out for a bit. There is a really nice British guy here who is working nearby and living here 5 days a week in his van and then going off into the mountains at the weekend. Nice. 

After not pooing for the last three days the food I ate seemed to pass straight through me in liquid form so that was great. It’s so cold outside and we have to get up at 5am to be at the school bus stop for 5:50am. For NZ$20 the bus driver takes people to the other side of the Rakaia river. (The Rakaia river can’t be crossed on foot so the only real way is to hitch around it. Methven is in the middle of the hitch and a convenient place to resupply, but the road leading up to the other side of the river isn’t very well travelled and difficult, but not impossible, to get a hitch. We decided the school bus shuttle would be the easiest option and it would mean we would have the whole day to make the most of the good weather before the following two days of forecast rain). 


It was so warm in the common area that I decided I would rather sleep in there as it would be easier to get up in the morning without having to pack away a wet tent, so we brought all our stuff inside and packed away our tents and set up on the floor in the common area. Colin and Hugo played ping pong for a while. This holiday park was probably in its prime in the 90s, now it looks like it need a bit of love. 

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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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