Starting our adventure with three days of outrageously fine weather risked lulling my hiking buddies into a false sense of security. Not knowing the range of conditions that a New Zealand summer can offer, they were cursing themselves for having brought winter merino. So I did a rain dance and on the fourth day the rain came, duly reassuring us that we were carrying the right gear after all.
This track was supposed to be a cruisey beginning to the South Island but as we were all adjusting to our gear it was a bit more challenging than expected. Plus the days were long and hot. We settled into a rhythm of having a micro break every hour and a decent sit-down every two. With this we could keep a consistent pace up in between.
I reminded myself of Erik Bradshaw’s advice about how to keep your body functioning when under excessive strain for days on end: take care of the basics – hydration, nutrition, sun protection – and the rest will take care of itself. We met some TA hikers who have done the North Island already, and they told us to add blister attention and stretching to the list. We did nightly yoga classes at the campsite much to the bemusement of our camping companions.
We are now preparing for the Richmond Alpine Track. We have decided to cut out the Pelorus River Track as we weren’t sure we could manage the two sections combined at this stage. Food packing was an immense operation. With a reduced food allocation and the jettisoning of a few small items my pack is at 17kg including 2 litres of water which I’m dead chuffed about. And the ukulele still made the cut! But with the bags all packed, one question plagues me… have we brought enough cheese?
STATS OF THE TRACK
Items lost: 2 tent pegs, one shoelace/washing line
Blisters: 5 narrowly avoided but still a work in progress
Nights where it was too hot to use sleeping bag: 4/4
Spiders in tent: zero
HOW I SPENT MY DAYS
1: Ship cove to Schoolhouse Bay 1.5 hours
2: Schoolhouse Bay to Camp Bay 8 hours (8 hours)
3: Camp Bay to Cowshed Bay 8 hours (8 hours, 900m ascent)
4: Cowshed Bay to Anakiwa (7 hours, 500m ascent)
5: Rest and resupply