I LOVE HIKING POLES.
This is the first time I’ve ever used them, and I don’t care how much I look like an elderly yet annoyingly fit German woman, I’m an absolute convert.
I decided to get them out in case they helped with the blisters, and also to ward off some niggling knee pain, and it only took me a few minutes before realising I was moving quickly and easily uphill, after a morning of slowly hobbling around the campground.
Today was a great day. The beginning of the track wandered through some reserve land and came out at the coast amongst flax bushes, giant boulders, and many sheep. The walking along the first half of the coast was meandering through these boulders and up around farmland boundaries, and it was really good to have some differentiated terrain – I’ve discovered that it’s the road (or beach) walking, where you make the same movements over and over, that results in the really bad blisters. It makes sense, really.
As the track met the beach I came to a gravel road that I decided to follow instead (I wasn’t too keen for more beach walking just yet) and a little way along I stopped and chatted to a guy who went by Squirt, fixing his driveway. He offered me a cup of tea and I sat with him and his partner at their makeshift home – they’re currently awaiting consent to begin building – and discussed gear, food, and Te Araroa tactics. Squirt hopes to do the whole thing one day! I showed him the GPS tracker Dad put on me and the app where you can follow its journey. Squirt said “I bet he’s watching and wondering why you’re stopped in a paddock right now!” As soon as I left their place, a message from Dad came through – “You just stopped in a paddock?”.
Another speedy hour with my beloved hiking poles and I arrived at Colac Bay Tavern, where I’m treating myself to an actual bed and some bangers & mash, before I head off grid tomorrow for a few days in the Longwood Forest.