Total km: 311
It is a hard decision to sometimes shake things up and there is still a part of me which feels I am giving up. I know that is irrational but that is how I feel.
Nonetheless, I have decided to leave South Island NZ today and fly up to the North Island to work with the weather there.
This was despite Dan arriving in Wanaka at 9:30am and us catching up for two hours before I hitched a ride to Queenstown airport.
It was a bittersweet moment, mostly spent by both of us swapping weather and hiking stories over the last couple of days - first hand and second hand - talking about the snow line, ridiculously slippery snowy tussock grass, the snow depth at 1800m (up to thigh height), the probable rainfall and wind and terrain and surge levels for creek and river crossings and ending up for both of us in mutual hikers’ sadness.
I mused more than once as to how many minutes my feet would throb with pain in walking through snow - 13 minutes is my estimate.
Dan also informed me that Loic had escaped to Wellington to buy a mountain bike and do some cycling. Nora is now in the Catlins (!) and so our little group of NOBOs are now disbanding.
Regarding hitchhiking, it is interesting how you can wait a long time to get a hitch and also the suspicion drivers can give you while hitching, even as a woman. I think it is really funny because people see you as some kind of social outcast, not seeing my Arcteryx gear probably!
I think there is a fair bit of fear amongst people at the moment; but I did get a hitch from a lovely woman - Kay - who took me all the way to Queenstown airport even though it was out of the way for her. We talked about her charity work, hiking, the property market, cycling and skiing. Thank you Kay for a lovely 1.5 hours. It flew by.
So once I got to Queenstown airport I resigned to the fact that North Island and moving away from the TA trip is a reasonable option. It is a wise decision. It is a wise decision. It is a wise decision.
The plan? Doing the highlights of TA in North Island - probably Tongariro and Whanganui - and getting in some beach moments and surfing at Raglan. Getting into some hot springs and mud. Who knows?
For today, my goal is to bus and hitch to Piopio to catch up with my good friend Sigrid (who I used to work and learned to ski with in Australia) and Phil, who the universe should bless for having the patience to teach me and Sigrid how to ski.
I can’t wait for fine wine and chats and cheese and who knows what else with Phil and Sigrid
So while I think Auckland would be a lovely city; but because I am used to less people and more nature, I can’t wait to get out.
On to Hamilton!