I zoomed round the final leg of the Abel Tasman track today, passing my planned campsite at 10.30am and deciding to keep walking and get into Nelson a day earlier than expected.
It rained overnight and was still a little gloomy this morning, but an hour after leaving camp the weather had cleared and it was hot. I passed by a spectacularly beautiful bay and decided to stop for a swim, but I had only taken my socks off when the saddles found me and chased me away. I had been halfway through heating up water for a coffee, and so I packed up and left, drinking my coffee as I walked, earning lots of funny looks from the people coming the other way.
At one point I arrived at a swingbridge where the weight limit was one person. Halfway along the bridge stood a middle-aged man turning this way and that, trying to get the perfect photograph of him. After about a minute of watching and waiting, I started to feel a bit frustrated. There were a young family on the other side of the bridge who had been waiting to cross since before I had arrived. After trying to convey impatience with my annoyed stares, he eventually walked to the opposite side of the bridge, and I let the family across. As soon as the mum had stepped onto my side, Selfie Man walked onto the bridge again, walked to the middle, and reinstated the photo shoot.
“Are you serious?”, I muttered to the couple who had arrived behind me during the first shoot. They laughed, and we resumed eyeing the man with frustration. Eventually, he began walking to our side, and we sighed with relief.
“Excuse me,” he said to me as he approached the bank, “Can you please take a photo of me on the bridge?”. The couple behind me snorted and I stared at him in disbelief.
“Sure.” I made no attempt to hide my contempt, and he suddenly looked hesitant about handing me his phone twenty metres above a fast flowing river.
At the end of the track, I easily hitched a ride to the state highway turn off with a woman who had his finish a shift at a kayak tour company. From there, I was picked up by a man who worked for the circus, and I had one of the more interesting hitches of my life into Nelson, stopping now and then to let the air out of giant inflatable clowns on the side of the road.