April 3rd 2017
Wash Creek – SH94 / Te Anau
Total distance: 1736.4 miles
It was absolutely freezing last night, confirmed by waking up to a layer of ice over our tents. It was almost impossible to get out of the sleeping bag and only when the sun came up and the ice started melting and dripping into my tent did I move. We packed up and with frozen hands and feet moved through the cold wet grass. The cold ground did nothing to warm up my frozen toes and they were almost too painful to walk on.
I felt a horrible pain in my leg, and I remembered that I fell over yesterday. I tripped right in front of Crusher and I lay sprawled on the forest floor. Crusher looked bewildered and couldn’t figure out what I had tripped over. Probably my own foot. I could feel the bruises every time I put my foot down.
We picked our way through the tall grass, getting wet from the melting frost. Thankfully we weren’t in the grass for too long and after a river crossing, which felt warm because our feet were so cold, we rejoined the dirt road we were on yesterday and it was a road walk the rest of the way. Colin, Sandy and Hugo were a little ahead and Crusher was a little behind and I used the time on the road to call home. There weren’t many cars on the road but the ones that did pass did not slow down, in typical New Zealand style, and covered us with dust clouds as the sped past. We joined the highway where there was 1.5 miles to walk along to the junction of the trail.
We passed Hugo trying to hitch, not bothering with the road walk, and I gave Crusher the option of hitching with him as she has no need to do a highway walk, but she chose to stick with me and we quickly made it to where Sandy and Colin were trying to hitch. On our approach we noticed how difficult they were to see as they have vey dark clothes, it really is worth having something bright. So Crusher and I stand a little away from them so people know they don’t have to give a ride to all four of us. After about half an hour we see Hugo go by waving out the window, I’m sure he had empty seats in the car!! I was losing the will to live and I was also getting very hungry so I pulled out my food bag and sat down, of course as soon as I did that a car pulled over and I sent Crusher over to see what the deal was.
The very nice man, originally from Nigeria and whose name I couldn’t quite understand, said he was on his way to an appointment in town and he packed us all in his little car. It was a funny ride, he made a phone call through the Bluetooth to Jenny, whom his appointment was with. He dropped us off at the place his meeting was and we all waved to Jenny who was sat inside having her breakfast. Unfortunately we were still a mile out of the centre of town, but we chose to just walk in as it would likely be quicker than hitching.
Crusher and I were keen to eat something nice so we found a restaurant and got food while the others scouted around for something cheaper. After a fish burger and a hot chocolate. We went to find them and sat in cafe, where I had a double scoop ice cream for dessert, and we made a plan for the next section. I asked them if they still wanted to continue on together and they said they did, and Crusher is coming to do the next section too. After we figured out the plan Crusher and I booked a room at the YHA, with my low carbon traveller discount we were able to book a twin room for a good price. We checked in and it was one of the nicest hostels on the trail. Clean, quiet, friendly. We met another TA hiker who we had seen in town, Ross from Canada, and he said he knew me as soon as he saw me. He had been following my name in the hut books and he met people that knew me so I had a good chat with him. Turns out he has been livening very close to me in England for the last 4 years.
We got our chores done, we resupplied, showered and did laundry. We made our room smell really bad with all our dirty stuff. After a little lie down and a bit of blog updating we decided to go out for food rather that cook at the hostel. It was really hard for us to make a decision on where to eat but we eventually chose Italian and went to La Dolce Vita for pizza. An authentic Italian restaurant run by a charismatic Italian man. Crusher claimed she wouldn’t be able to eat all her pizza but she was a whole slice ahead of me and she could only explain it with ‘I just love pizza’. I ended up stuffing all of mine in until I felt a bit sick and she saved some for breakfast.
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.