We cycled for 2 days alongside canals where we met Tim and Isaac who I hadn’t seen since Colac Bay. They were still going strong and seemed happy.
We spent nights at Twizel then at Ohau Lodge. The Lodge was our bit of luxury with a spa pool to enjoy. However the ay was ho (about 28 degrees celcius) so too hot to sit in the water for long. The edges were also too hot to sit on but we persevered and enjoyed a beer to keep us cool.
Next day we were onto the track towards the Ahuriri river crossing. Jane and Pip were planning a night at a little private hut, about 10km from the big river crossing and I planned to turn back at that stage.
However we were passed by Ian and we knew two other men were ahead of us, so the lure of males had Pip looking as though she was going to follow them another 3 hours to the river.
So I decided to stop and spend the night beside the track. I was mostly influenced by the fact that I had a book to read that I picked up at Lake Ohau. I don’t usually allow myself the extra weight of a book but this one was too good to leave behind and I was keen to get on and read it.
So I put up my tent all alone in a wilderness mountain area. Then I sat in the sun with a my book, loving the peace and quiet and being really entertained by the book and laughing out aloud with only the tussock grass to hear me.
I needed to keep moving as the sun went down dehind the hills. Eventually I ate my dinner and crawled into my sleeping bag for the night.
It was a cold night and I enjoyed being able to snuggle down under my Zpacks quilt for a change. There was no wind so I had quite a lot of condensation in the tent.
When I woke up there was no sun yet so I quickly packed up and walked for 2 hours before finding a sunny spot to eat my breakfast and lay out my tent and sleeping quilt to dry.
Along comes the French girl who had met at Aparima hut making fresh bread She had had a very cold in a hut not more than 200 metres from me.
Also met Michael from Auckland (Originally South Korea). He is a well known character on the trail who had lost his fish’n’chip shop as a result of Covid. However he was very happy to be free and easy out on the trail. I totally get that!!
Somehow I left my cheese and crackers on a big rock and met 3 people in the following days who had seen them. No one had eaten them.
At one stage I wandered off track a bit and needed to climb straight up a slippery cliff to get back on track. My theory of just followed the river was not working out. I was not concerned about being “lost” as I had no real aim for the day. I could spend another night out here if I wanted to, but I did manage to make it out of the open tops leaving the last 3 hours of bush walking to do.
There I met a young woman who was on a day walk/ run who was happy to chat and walk with me. She then gave me a ride to the camp ground. Very sad looking place after a major fire last year and empty because of covid. The beautiful shade trees had been cut down so it looked desolate and sad and really hot, a 28 degree day in New Zealand sun is scorching.
As happened to me when I was here 2 years ago, a car stopped asking me if I needed a ride. A quick decision was made to go back to the Ohau Lodge as he was working there in the kitchen. So the young lad moved the cigarette packets, beer cans and half eaten pizza from the front seat and I jumped in. He explained that he couldn’t afford the beer out there so had been into town to buy a box of beer for his evening off. 10 minutes up the road and he was inviting me back to the staff quarters for a beer which I politely declined. I needed a shower and was hungry. My room had sink with a dripping tap and some noisey mosquitoes so not a good night!!!
I shared my dinner and breakfast with a lovely kiwi couple who has started Te Araroa on the Queen Charlotte Track where he proposed to her. I had heard this story and was pleased to see that they still appeared to be getting on well.
Hitched ride next morning with a bike company to main highway intersection where I nabbed an old lady at the intersection for a ride to Twizel 60km away. She was on a compulsory stop and a sitting target. When she dropped me of she told me that she had never picked up a hitch hiker before and now wished she had done so more often as we had had a lovely chat with me. I had talked at high volume as she didn’t have her hearing aids in. She drive at about 70km per hour so it was a nice relaxing trip and many cars overtook us.
Hung out in Twizel watching rowing teams going in and out of the shops as there was a big regatta on. There was no accommodation there as a result so I headed back to the highway 8 to hitch to Tekapo.
Along comes Geoff,obviously a T A walker because of his light oack and brown legs. He was also wanting a hitch to Tekapo.
He instantly recognized me as Karen from Karensdamnlongwalk.com saying he had followed my TA from Canada and decided to do some of it while over here on family business.
It took a bit longer than usual to get a ride because there was 2 of us. Kiwi Indian gave us a ride and he and Geoff had a lot to talk about as Geoff had spent quite some time in India.
We signed in to the Tekapo Backpackers and went out fir dinner. That night, Sev, another TA walker arrived. Ex forces and had managed a MIQ in Auckland, he had a lot of interesting stuff to share with us.
Both had a rest day so lots of things to talk about. Sev dropping things out of his pack after seeing my light weight packing.
There was no work to be had here at this time so I decided to hitch into Christchurch to catch up with family and friends.