​9th December, Te Araroa 69 day

Furneaux Lodge 1715km (Queen Charlotte Sound track) to 1727kmCamp Bay Campground DOC (12km)

Nice sleep in this morning in really confortable beds with electric blankets and the heater going all night to dry everything out.  The living room was a mess with both backpacks contents laying everywhere either on the floor, couch or kitchen table.

Eunhwa’s mind was made up, 11:30 is ferry time and even with the much improved weather, she wasn’t going to change her mind.

I managed to catch myself a head cold from yesterday’s cold and wet weather and also the lack for sleep since the ferry ride the other day.  Lucky for me, there was a lemon tree outside our room so without hesitation; I helped myself to a few lemons for my morning green tea. Three cups I had all up and it made a world of difference and I started to feel half human again.

Today was a sad day for me as I waved goodbye to Eunhwa as she headed back to Picton and then onto Christchurch.  With Eunhwa gone, I’m not sure when or where I’ll see her again as she was talking about heading back to Thailand or South Korea or even visiting friends in Australia.  I didn’t push the subject as sometimes it’s best to just let things go to keep the piece.

It was hard to leave the lodge with all its comforts and access to Facebook and emails, I didn’t say anything on FB about Eunhwa quitting the trail as I was hoping that she would return to the trail and help me complete it.  I continued along the track with the sun finally breaking through the clouds.  It was easy walking and for me and it was going to be a short day with a start at midday and stopping at the DOC camp site at 4 o’clock.  I was the only one there but a couple of more hours later the place was flooded with students on their adventure setting up their tents.  Fortunately I had the best spot which provided some isolation from them.  I had problems with my gas cooker, it’s not the first time I’ve had problems with it but this time I had thought it was totally out of order until finally I managed to find out what the problem was.  

The fee to camp at the DOC camping grounds was 6 dollars, I had no cash but in an area of no WiFi or mobile coverage, they had a card reader to take payment and I guess it gets processed once the machine goes back to the office.  But it was strange that when I processed my Debit card that it asked for my pin number which I used and accepted. What would have happened if I used the wrong pin number or maybe somehow the pin number is stored on the card itself, however I really don’t think so.

As the kids started to invade the camp site, a South African school teacher set up her tent not far from mine and you could see straight away,  that her body wasn’t made for walking and after doing 26kms in just one day, which in any language is a long distance to do especially carrying a heavy backpack, she was physically exhausted.  She tried to have food to build up her energy levels and that didn’t work as it just made her feel worse and wanting to throw up.  I offered to make her a cup of Monaka Honey in hot water. I carried half a kg of honey after Julie was kind enough to give it to me back in Wanganui.  After the second cup she started to feel alive again and more relaxed. It’s a good feeling to return the kindness we received along the trail from total strangers.

A while ago I overheard that one of the boys at the camp site had lost a Marsbar as one of the many Weka’s, flightless bird, had entered his tent and stole it, I laughed to myself and thought it served himself right as he was told to keep things locked away from the well-known Weka’s.   As night fell, and hunger pains started, it was time for me to do some cooking.  After I had sorted out the cooker problem I had the usual meal of pasta and a coffee but this time I had some special bread which cost a small fortune at the super market.  Everything cooked and now time to relax, problem was that I spent the next 5 minutes pulling my bag and tent apart looking for my bread then, Damit, I relised,  those Weka’s must have stolen it. I must have turn my back for a minute and gave them the opportunity, now those Weka’s aren’t so nice and cute.