Day 74. Treetops Backpackers – Havelock Blue Moon Lodge. 38km. Total 1787km.
I slept so well and only wake up at 7.45am! (My former working self would be laughing, I was always struggling to get up at 7.30am when I had to work). We head out for the trail at 9am, hiking uphill quite a while under a blue sky and hot sunshine. The views are incredible, Queen Charlotte Sound is such a beautiful place.
I am struggling a bit to find my inner balance though in the morning. My friends are faster than me hiking uphill and although I thought I had finally accepted that my body is just not made for hiking uphill at a quicker pace, I just hate being slow. With no one around or just other well trained TA hikers I managed to accept it as I know that there are just physical limits I cannot change. I mean, 1000km in the European Alps followed by 1700 in New Zealand provided more training than I can ever get and instead of being proud of my achievement I can only see my weakness. Seems I have more mental work ahead to accept my limits, and with 1300km ahead there is plenty of time for it. (Anyone got good tips on how to achieve it?)
When the trail gets less hilly and with the help of some chocolate I can finally enjoy the day again.
Lunch is perfect, Tortillas filled with avocado, tuna, olives and a great view! As we continue I stumble upon Liz (another TA hiker I already met several times) who found a nice spot to rest and read her book.
After 3pm we reach Anakiwa and the end of the Queen Charlotte Track. I leave my friends for their hitchhiker’s luck and continue by foot. It’s another 18km to Havelock and our hostel (everything was fully booked in Anakiwa). By chance the trail is going through Havelock and I can make some more trail kilometers now (instead of returning to Anakiwa after our trail break). The Link Pathway along the road and highway is nice but unfortunately not finished so I find myself on the highway for a few kilometers, tempted again to hitchhike.
Luckily the trail then moves up the hill, above the highway with great views on the sound. It’s taking longer than expected, the trail winding it’s way up and down but at 7.45pm I finally reach the hostel.
Peggy and Coco weren’t quite lucky with hitchhiking in the beginning (but got invited to a party with beer in between) and arrived just about 90minutes earlier. A quick shower and we have dinner at the pub, a fresh fish, fries and salad for me, well earned after 38km today! (OK I also finished Peggy’s plate, somehow it’s good if your friends aren’t as hungry as you but also it’s frightening to never feel full again). I am dead tired and just want to lay on the bed so I leave my friends to their beer and stroll around Havelock.
Day 75. Havelock – Pelorous Bridge – Nelson. 21km. Total 1808km.
Back to my regular time I start hiking at 7am. I am continuing 21km from Havelock to Pelorus Bridge on the TA before hitchhiking to Nelson. Like that I can pick up the trail from Pelorus Bridge beginning of January and don’t have to hitchhike further. My friends are hitchhiking directly from Havelock.
After the first short stretch on the highway, I cross the river on a bridge to a rather deserted road. It’s another beautiful morning and I enjoy hiking on my own for a while. After 9km I can finally leave the road for some kilometers on farmland, walking over stiles, grass, streams….
Until I finally reach the bush which leads after 1km to Pelorus Bridge. The Pelorus river is gorgeous, emerald and crystal clear. There is a campground, cafe, toilets, parking and plenty of tourists around. Hitchhiking is not that easy though, I am waiting about 40minutes until a Kiwi family takes me to Nelson. They are from Wellington and spend their holidays every year in Golden Bay so I note down a few tips.
At 2pm I reach Nelson and after a short stop at the Countdown supermarket for lunch I join Peggy and Coco at The Palace Backpackers (a very nice old house (120 years, a lot for New Zealand) with high ceilings and painted windows, a nestled garden and NO bunk beds.
We wash our clothes and hang them up, I take a shower, organise my stuff and then it’s coffee time, accompanied by sweet and salty treats offered by the Backpackers every afternoon!
We head out to the main road in Nelson, stopping at a few shops, buying nice party supplies for New Years Eve. I have my stove checked and it turns out it’s broken / melted. Another piece of gear I have to replace! I get now one that doesn’t have any plastic, 90$ for a titanium Kovea stove highly recommended by the vendor and weighing only 60g. I already saw other hikers using it and it seemed to work fine.