The Final Days

The last couple days have been a trip. We wrapped up the section from Otautau, passing through Colac Bay, Riverton and Invercargill.

We had our last night in a hut, unexpectedly but since it was pouring rain, we were happy for it. A quick video tour of Martin’s Hut:

Have to appreciate Colac Beach for having a great surfer monument:

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Riverton was a cute town and then we hit Invercargill, which we passed right through.

It’s felt a lot like the North Island around here: lots of muddy jungle, small hills instead of proper mountains, in and out of towns all day, farmland and roads instead of trails….but it’s been pretty nevertheless. We were back near the ocean and the beach, which was exciting since we hadn’t been on beach since the North Island (but this time, it was freezing).

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After passing through Invercargill we spent our last night in the tent in a farm halfway to Bluff and then wrapped things up the next morning.

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Not a bad slogan.

Getting to the end of such a long journey always creates a mix of emotions. We’ve been planning and working on this trip for well over a year, walking it for about a third of one, and now, finally, we don’t have to walk anymore.

We celebrated with a bottle of champagne and some lovely Bluff oysters (no, Mike didn’t try any).

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It’s surprisingly liberating to have the thing done and the task complete, but we’ll miss it.

M and Z, April 9th 2014

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Open Q & A

We made it and now we’re traveling by bus back the way we came. We’re on this bus for a long time, then it’s road trip time.

What better way to pass the time than an open Q&A, like we did at Wellington?

If you have any questions you’ve been thinking about, any quandaries you’ve been pondering, ask away in the comments and we’ll try to respond quick as lightning.

M, 9 April 2014

South Island Mailboxes

The North Island really delivered when it came to snazzy mailboxes. The South Island is something of a disappointment by comparison, but this is because we walked so few road miles on the South Island.

Regardless, I’ve kept my mailbox-dar activated, and found the following good ones:

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Excellent due to location alone.

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Ha. You have to lift the udder to deliver mail.

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Excellent detail work.

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Simple, but well done.

Update: found another good one:

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Don't ask me to explain it.

Trail Isn’t Giving Up Easy

I had a good fall as we were descending to a campground a few days back.

Didn’t see a rollie rock under a bed of grass on the “trail”. Stepped on it, took a spill.

It’s coming along nicely:

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Getting some lovely hues...

Today and yesterday it has been raining. This is our last forest section and the last time we have any elevation at all. Yesterday we climbed over the top of a wide open hill, with barely any ground trail and only sparse poles to guide us through a whiteout with strong wind and rain.

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This is the only photo...can you see the trail in the upper left? This was just before it disappeared completely.

Trail ain’t giving up easy.

M, 5 April 2014

Getting the Water

Water is a huge part of the planning of our trip. Do we have enough to keep us hydrated? Do we have enough for pasta cooking? Are we carrying way too much and adding unnecessary weight?

All of this to say that we’ve gotten water in lots of ways along the trail. We even did a bit of rain collection one rainy night off the tent spine. Here are a couple:

Filling from the rain tank outside Lower Wairaki Hut in the Takitimu Forest

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Filling directly from a hole in the mountain near Stag Saddle. Can’t get any purer than that.

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Filling from a lovely stream after Lake Selfe, just before reaching Lake Coleridge, on a foggy morning.

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Filling from the Hope River (I think).

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Filling from a pool right after the Waiau Pass. It’s so clear you can hardly tell it’s there.

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Filling in a hostel in St. Arnaud’s:

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Filling in a sheering shed after some friendly farmers gave us permission:

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Filling from some disgusting steam on Ninety Mile Beach.

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Filling directly from a tiny waterfall:

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Collecting water from a river 10m below the bridge using ingenuity and rope:

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Water. Very important. Glad that there is so much of it in New Zealand.

Z, April 3rd, 2014