A rest day or 2 has been ordered by my children: wait until there is someone to look after you, has been the order. I think I have done quite well. 2,900 km and only 2 rescues!
So the usual washing of body and clothes and scrubbing shoes and multiple rinsing of muddy socks, tent drying and a bit more gear sorting than usual. With the arrival of the helicoptor I had to quickly stuff stuff into my pack before it blew away. I have found that I had left behind one of my walking poles. I am definitely not going back to pick it up.
I was reasonably presentable and odorless by the time the local policeman arrived to interview me. This is part of the Search and Rescue procedure I was not in trouble.
The cop knew the area well and said that they thought I was probably down a mine shaft. Again I did all the right things except lose the markers. So I began to feel better about it all.
I spent the afternoon in the bar writing up my blog and taking phone calls and replying to messages. The TA family had heard about my rescue and were either laughing or commiserating with me. Maybe I hold the record for the most Helicoptor rides on the trail.
I shared a feed of freshly caught shellfish with a local guy and dinner with some TA hikers. They were dribbling in throughout the day.
The Israeli guy, Armin, who took the short cut, looked much better than the two who had walked for 13 hours on the official trail. Armin had actually spent the night in the infamous Martin’s Hut which was alive with vermin. He is a tough, fast guy having got all this way in only 3 months. I have taken 5 months.
Next a very clean looking Sirkka (Netherkands) arrived. She had decided she did not want 2 long days of mud and rats so had walked on the road from Otautau. It was about 40km of long boring gravel road walking but better than what her husband Roy had encountered.
Her hubby, Roy (Netherlands) and Caroline (USA) had kept to the official trail and camped at the cellphone towers, before Martin’s Hut. They were plagued with rats running over and under their tent all night. They gave up trying to sleep when one began chewing through the netting. Our government is aiming for us to be predator free by 2025. I think they had better do some wide spread 1080 drops. There is a real problem down here that a few traps is not going to fix.
They packed up and left at 3 am with headlamps on and walked in the dark. They arrived at about 6 pm, muddy and tired. A 15 hour day. I was sure that the short cut was a better way.
It was St Patrick’s Day so we shared the pub with a few revelers in their green hats but we were more interested in our food and swapping TA stories. They had all seen the chopper go over and had joked that it is probably that Karen again.
The Israeli guy ate a full steak, eggs and chips meal, then a big plate of fish and chips followed by a chocolate pudding and ice cream dessert. Hikers hunger at it’s best. I only had the steak dinner and the dessert. We are all going to have to watch our eating when we finish thus damn long walk.
Day 148 Another day hanging out
Gail has arrived as she hitched from Otautau, also not wanting 2 long days of mud and rats. Gail has been walking for a few weeks with her daughter, Aliss. They are from Wales. I have walked with them a bit before including an awful river walk.
I have decided to leave tomorrow with Roy, Sirkka and Carolyn. I am sure they can look after me. If I stay here any longer eating and drinking at the pub I will put back on the weight I have lost. We are aiming for 2 days to Bluff, but need to have a good look at the tides as there is a long stretch of beach walking. Total to go about 73km. Actually I am now getting excited about finishing. And some of you will be pleased to get a break from my KarensDamnlongwalk posts.
By the end of the day there another 10 walkers had arrived, including Anouc. Dinner will be a lively affair tonight