Ngaio (km1711)- Island Bay (km1733)
Mileage: 13.7mi/22km (more like 16 miles with all the additional walking)
I was not at all excited about having to walk the final stretch of trail through Wellington, not after the big day yesterday. I was literally dragging my feet. I got to slack-pack it at least. I didn’t leave the house until after 11 am but once on the trail, I perked up a bit. It wound through a stream valley and then up along the city greenway (an undeveloped green belt that farsighted city planners set aside over 100 years ago). Then the route marched me through the botanical gardens (free entry), past the cable car, observatory, and down through an old cemetery. There was a 2017 TA dedication of some steel cut-outs in the shape of …hikers? The shapes were kind of ambiguous and I thought a bit ugly but what do I know about ‘art.’ They certainly weren’t a proper representation of thru-hikers…they would need to be much slimmer! I completely missed them while trying to navigate through the city and had to go back the next day on my so-called zero. The route then proceeded past the parliament building (the beehive) and along the main drag of downtown businesses. I spotted a few TA markers inscribed in the sidewalk. I stopped by the Bivouac store to see if I could exchange my second pair of socks, as they were wearing thin in the heel. No dice, they would only accept them if they were clean and dry. Mine were on my feet and dirty and sweaty. Not the most understanding of folks but I had to try. I walked on along the waterway, past throngs of beachgoers. This was the most crowded beach I have seen in NZ but still nice. I couldn’t believe how clean the water looked. Kids were jumping off the seawall right into the main harbor. I’ll bet there is some pollution from the run-off of this fairly large city but it’s way better than most harbors I’ve seen. The trail left the waterfront and began climbing up to Mt. Victoria. About this time, my stomach began to really bother me. I was having cramps in an atypical upper gut area. I rarely have gastro distress while on travel and if I do, it clears up fast. But I began to wonder if I’d gotten a bug from drinking unfiltered water from the huts. There have been rumors of giardia. I’d just have to see what develops.
I climbed to the top of Mt. Vic then a few more bumps before descending down to the south coast. I was feeling a bit chilly by then, as it had clouded over and who knows what’s going on with my immune system. The coast was a bit wild and I really enjoyed seeing all the eclectic houses along the way. I came to the end marker, a plaque, with no one to take my picture or share in my accomplishment. I wasn’t too into it given how late into the day it had gotten, plus my feelings of malaise. I snapped a few pics and made a beeline for the bus, which thankfully came within 15 minutes.
Back in Wellington, there was a 1 minute layover between when the bus arrived and when the train departed and I totally blew it. I had to wait another hour for the next one. I didn’t mind the wait, as I worked on the blog, but it meant showing up close to 9 pm at the Hart’s. Once again, I found a delicious and nutritious dinner set aside. A comfy bed is quite one thing but meals too! I can’t thank my hosts enough for their generosity. Kiwi hospitality is amazing. That has been reward enough for walking the North Island. What a journey it has been.