Parawai Lodge(985.7)- Waikanae(1000.8)
Today we had one track hike to do before finally being done with this leg. It’s so funny how the tracks can make you thankful for a road walk and then the road walks make you wish for a track out here. Well, today’s track was the best maintained track we’ve been on for awhile. It was 2-3hrs of uphill, but it was gradual, so not bad heading up to the top of Pukeatua.
Our minds and bodies are pretty much spent from the last handful of days. It’s still amazing what all Becky has done and pulled off considering that she really had no prior hiking or endurance type experience prior to the TA. I forget that sometimes when she’s flying down a trail, and also forget how crazy young 20yrs old is. There is a lot of mental and physical challenges to thru-hiking, and I take it in stride having had years of experience and ways to mentally motivate. I forget that this is all new and a learning experience for Becky. She’s learning on the go how her mind and body best respond to such physical and mental stress, and it’s often a trial and error thing to figure out what works to keep each individual psyched and pumped to do things when drained. She’s doing great and kicking ass!
We decided to do an activity to take our minds off what we were doing for the length of the climb. We took it easy on the climb up and recalled each of our 60 days out here in detail. We had to cheat a handful of times to confirm or recall something, but we mostly remembered everything. I’m terrible at knowing the names of things out here, but I can generally recall a track or mountain experience. Just don’t ask me to name it!
The path was nice, and more solidified than some tracks given all the rain the last 24hrs. There were hardly any views other than the bottom and the top. It was nice to see such clear skies when today was supposed to be raining. A great break, and given the last four days, I guess yesterday was the better one for rain given that it was down low and not exposed. Just the dang streams.
We made it up top of Pukeatua and took a nice long lunch to dry things out while we ate. It was windy as gales were high up in the range, so we ate where it was protected on the trail. There were views looking back on the Tararua Range and down to the ocean.
The hike down was the fun stuff. It was a bit slick and muddy, but we made good time, and the trail improved as we went down. At the end, there a great pine forest of tall trees and soft wide trail that I didn’t think could exist in New Zealand, ha!
We came out of the track at 2pm, and had 6.5mi/11km road walking into Waikanae. We both felt a huge sigh of relief to be on a quiet road walk where we could just space out and walk on flat ground. We didn’t even want music or to talk. Just a quiet time to decompress.