Quite a difficult day, same beautiful forest but i wasn’t feeling too good. Lack of energy and longer recovery to get me up the steeper sections. thought at least was only going to be a 12km day (7 hours) to next hut so struggled on. Tim and Nick (and Zoe of course) were setting a bit after but we kept meeting up with them at different points of the day and seeing how many biddy bids poor little Zoe had attached to her (she had adapted a technique of walking right behind Nicks legs to try and minimise how many got her but she had loads on her poor thing).
Karla and I got to the hut about 2pm and proceeded to wash clothes and set up tents before the boys arrived. When they did Nick suggested that we all walk out today rather than stay. This created a state of mild confusion and panic as I was keen to not lose the lift into Taramanui partly because I was feeling rough and partly so could get a full rest day (first for 28 days!). Karla wasn’t sure as she was not going to get her new boots until Friday and would mean hanging around Taramanui for longer than she wanted to so initially she declined. The boys headed off and I would catch them up when packed my tent. I was feeling rather sad about leaving Karla on her own but just as I was about to say goodbye she said she’d come too so we both set off in pursuit.
the 2 hour walk to the trail end turned out to be a tough 3 and half hours! We caught Tim and Nick up after an hour but Nick had managed to injure himself (and smash his GPS) on a sharp branch sticking out into the path so he was limping a bit. I lent him my trekking poles to support him better and we went ahead to meet Nicks wife Fiona so she didn’t get worried we were late. finally reached the road end and Fiona had only just arrived after getting lost. I headed back up the trail to see if they needed help but they had done really well and were only about 5 minutes behind. Like the old wounded soldier Nick declined my offer to carry his pack for him.
Funny ride into Taramanui as Nick kept criticising Fiona’s driving which she didn’t appreciate one bit. it got quite tense so thought i’d interject with a “see that absence makes the heart grow fonder” smoother. Not sure it went down too well!
At least I didn’t get thrown out of car and they kindly took us to the liquor store for cider and MacDonalds (the famous JD’s cafe in the railway carriage had closed down a few months ago!) before dropping us off at the campsite. Ate the MacDonalds while having a conversation with a Dutch chap who was travelling on his own and I think wanted someone to talk to. Had a lovely hot shower before going to bed
And thats when the fun started!