The Colac Bay pub was rocking that night with about 20 of us TA walkers all catching up with each other. There was a bit of talk about the corona virus but most people just wanted to savor the last couple of days on trail and think about that later.
So I started out the day with Anouk and Jimmy (Australia). Only 2 days of walking to do and it would be beach and road walking. So NO MORE MUD. A few days ago I didn’t want to finish but the Longwood Forest and the sight of Bluff has changed my attitude. I just want to finish and get home. So many of the others are feeling the same. No one is going over to Stewart Island. The trail has made it easy for us to finish. Mud, beach , signpost. this is just the opposite of how we started: Signpost, beach, mud. A fitting end.
We walked along the beach and I was not enjoying myself. The tide was at it highest so we were walking on horrible deep stones on a slope.
It was hard going and I couldn’t keep up with the others. I think I am fast when I am on my own but I am still just a bit slower than many of the young ones. They have all got faster and fitter and stronger too.
Then we veered off over some cliffs and down through big flax bushes. Soon I was ankle deep in mud, slipping over and sitting in it. The language coming out of the flax bushes was not pretty! I had cleaned my shoes and did not want and more mud. I have lost all interest in the damn long walk!!! I don’t care anymore – I just want it finished!!
After 13 km we reached the small coastal town of Riverton and headed to a cafe. Soon there was a big table of walkers chatting madly as we do.
But my mind wasn’t with it. Outside it had started to rain. That was it for me. I just did not want to walk in the rain so asked about buses to Invercargil. There was only a morning service and I had missed it but I was given the number of the local freight company. ” I will be there in 10 minutes to pick you up” she said. Decision made. No 26 km beach walk for me today. I didn’t want my second to last day to be miserable. Was I getting lazy? I don’t know and I don’t care!
So I had a night in Invercargil in a hostel and dinner in the local Irish Bar, with only a group of local guys in overalls there. Covid-19 was beginning to take over.