Havelock (km1818)- Pelorus Bridge (km1839)
Several factors made my decision to slack-pack today an easy one. One, my package of extra food had not yet arrived but was likely to come today. Mail is apparently only delivered 3 times a week here: M, W, F. Second, the forecast was for some more unsettled weather. Third, WhyNot did a version of this plan in order to wait out the weather, so I got the inspiration from her. I would leave most of my stuff at the backpacker and do just a 21 km road/farm section to the Pelorus Bridge, then hitch back.
I woke up early as usual and tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work. As comfortable as I was in the bed, I just wanted to get moving. I also wanted to take advantage of the lull in wifi demand. It was really slow last night, as everyone was probably trying to stream or Skype. In the kitchen, I was surprised to find Finnish Anna (sausagefingers) already skyping. It’s the only time that lines up with her relatives in Finland, so she had gotten up early for the wifi too.
I took breakfast slow, later talking with Kirsten. I really like the group of TA walkers in town right now and am looking forward to hopefully spending some time with them in the Richmond Range and beyond.
Later, I caught up with Simon and Hannah at the cafe. Another TA hiker named Kirsten showed up there, too, along with Kiwi Dan. Lots of new faces, which is fun. It’s such a small town that it’s easy to find all the others.
I didn’t set off from town until 11 am but I felt energized after having a meat pie. The weather was actually quite nice and the temperatures a lot cooler. Today was the first day in a long time, if ever on this trip, that I felt the need to put my jacket on if I wasn’t moving. This feels like the NZ I remember.
The route started with a brief section along the highway then onto a cruisey gravel road, where not a single car passed in 10 kms of walking. For the last 7 kms, the route went along the river through a large farm station, with many paddocks that varied in consistency and content. Some had short mowed grass, others medium grass, and some had turnips. The worst was a field with cow poo and decomposing turnips, the ones that hadn’t been pulled by the harvesting machine. The smell was a bit off. There were also a few small stream crossings, all dry-feet type.
At the very end was a short bush track leading to a swingbridge and then the Pelorus vehicle bridge. I crossed it and started searching for a ride. It took me a bit of time and then some positive thinking. I have played a game trying to guess the color of the next car to come along when I’ve done road walks in the past. On this day, I envisioned that a blue car was going to come and offer a ride. The very next car to arrive was blue and he pulled over! I immediately told him about my mentalist abilities and he must have though I was a bit daft. I’ve had some interesting coincidences in conjuring up my own trail magic on this journey. The power of positive thinking. And thanks to Lester for the ride.
Back in town, I found my food parcel delivered (yay!) and did the rest of my shopping. The 4-square actually had a good selection and decent prices. Some of the items were even cheaper than in Wellington. I then took yet another hot shower and repackaged my food. It was raining again but with no wind.
I had taken a peak at the local pub menu, noting a good burger selection. I hadn’t treated myself to a good dinner in awhile. Even though this town is renowned for their mussels, I thought I better stick with something more standard. The BBQ burger came with heaps of fries, so many I couldn’t even eat them all. Oh where has my hiker-hunger gone? I took the remainder in case I feel like cold soggy fries in the morning.
In case you’re wondering what the weird green caricature is, it’s a mussel. The town’s claim to fame!
It was a good, relaxing day and hopefully just the recharge I needed before starting the Richmonds, the longest, highest, and supposedly hardest mountain section yet. Oh boy.