Oh my gosh, what a long, long day. It started early and sunny and full of hope, and I left my gear at the lodge while I half-skipped the two kilometres down to Stirling Point, the official start/end point of Te Araroa.
Then back to pick the gear up and I began on the longest road walking section (I really really hope) that I’ll face in the South Island.
The next 16km were terrifying, freezing, and really emotionally trying. In lots of places there was only room to put a metre between me and the oncoming cars, or trucks. Many a huge truck showered me in water!
After lunch the trail turned off to follow a cycle trail. By this time the wind had really picked up and it was this that nearly did my head in. I got slower and slower and the last 5km into Invercargill took about two hours!
A shuffle down the street to the Indian restaurant and my spirits are slowly lifting. I hope my muscles magically repair themselves overnight – it’s another 30km jaunt tomorrow, this time on sand.