Monday, 5 January 2015

Day 67. Picton to Camp Bay.

Today 24 km. Total 1711 km. 6 hours 10 minutes (1110-1720).

The first of the room mates were away at 0700 which wasn't too bad.  At 0730 I got up and walked 20 meters to a fantastic bakery where I had a Chicken and Camenbert Pie, donut and pinwheel with an orange juice and a coffee.  I was full after that.  Back at the backpackers I handed my key in and asked if they could post my parcel as the Post Office would still be closed when I left.  They were happy to do this which was a relief.  I was impressed with the Villa Backpacker and will stay there again if I am in Picton again.

I walked to the Beachcomer Cruises office to check in and pick up my track pass. Beachcomber offer a discount to Te Araroa trampers.  They replied to my email enquiring about this really quickly and the staff were really helpfull.

I had 20 minutes to fill so I had another coffee.

I could get used to starting every day like this

The boat

At 0900 the boat departed. This sailing was on the bigger catamaran. The 0800 sailing is on a smaller boat.  I was happy to be on the bigger boat as I could sit inside for the journey out of the wind but when I wanted to take photos I could go onto the open top deck.  The captain was friendly and gave interesting information as we went.  We were lucky and saw some little Hector Dolphins.

Picton Harbour

Looking forwards

Hector Dolphin

Looking back

There were two stops on the way to Ships Cove. Once we arrived I looked at the information panels and had my photo taken in front of the memorial.  Ships Cove is where Captain Cook, who discovered NZ, first landed and spent the most time at in NZ on his subsequent visits. He established a peaceful relationship with the Maori who lived there.

My boat

Weka - now I really know I am in the South Island

Official start of South Island - Cool's Memorial (Captain Cook discovered NZ)

Bridge guardians

Great Maori carving


Maori carving

At 1110 I was on the trail and what a beautiful trail it was. Apart from the first 5 minutes which were uphill almost steeply the rest of the track was an easy gradient.  Most of the time I only realised I had been climbing was when I started going downhill.  It was also a great day for my ego as I flew past everyone.

It was hardly fair having a fit TA tramper on the same track as people who probably haven't walked more than 10 km in years if ever. Imagine a couple who had massive packs with things hanging off every attachent struggling up a slight incline as I prance past with my conditioned legs and relatively light pack. The mournful look on the couples faces as they admire the bulging calf muscles and what to them must look like a tiny pack makes me glad that I refrained from skipping past as that may well have been the last straw for them and would just have been mean.

Seriously I was feeling fresh after my two days off and had to keep telling myself to slow down. It was mainly people with day packs on the trail with a few with full backpacks.

The track was in beautiful condition and I was moving at a good pace. I saw two people coming towards me who had a TA look about them so I made a comment to them and they were.  They were SOBO but doing just Queen Charlotte Track northwards.

In this area or is a mast year which means the native trees, and especially beech trees, flower more than normal which creates more fruit which the rodents love so their numbers explode. That is why the traping and poison was so intense on the track.

Fantastic track

Great views

Glean green NZ ecxept the 4 different types of poison being used here to control pests

And three different types of traps

Traps at frequent intervals

Just in case I forgot where I was

Nice views

More nice track

I stopped for lunch at some picnic tables overlooking the water with about 10 other people.  There were 2 Weka there which was good entertainment to see what they would try to steal. After 40 minutes I continued on.


Weta checking if my shoes are edible

Not long after I saw Dan Slattery coming towards me and he asked if Bluff was in the direction he was going. He was also doing Queen Charlotte Track northwards but would switch back once finished.

I was stopping a lot to take photos and in one spot did a video just to capture the noise of the birds.  This meant one lady who was walking a good pace kept passing me then I would pass her again.

Back at sea level

Some nice private holiday homes

Bell bird

The picture will not work but hopefully the sound will. This is the bird sounds

1700 km

At 1400 I came to Furneaux Lodge and decided to stop for a cupaccino,  just for the novelty of being able to do so while in the middle of a tramp. After I sat down at a table the lady I kept leapfrogging arrived and she sat next to me and we started talking.  She was just doing a day walk and catching the boat back that afternoon.  She ordered some chips and when they arrived there were a lot. She asked me to help finish them so to be polite I took a few going with my philosophy of not turning down offers.  She then cried out that she couldn't eat anymore and pleaded with me to finish the bowl so she didn't have to live with the shame of ordering too much and wasting food. Well what else could I do but sacrifice myself to forcing the hot crunchy salty chips into my protesting body, valiantly eating to rescue the distraught woman from her shame because that is the person I am - always thinking of others.  I persised in the difficult quest and finally (30 seconds at most) with a cry of triumph downed the last chip and just to ensure there was nothing left to add to the traumatised women's pain I wiped all remaining salt from the bowl. The area erupted in cheers as everyone realised magnitude of my sacrifice for the woman and the difficulty of the challenge.

Ok maybe there was a little caffeine in my sytem when I composed this while walking along. It was my third coffee of the day when I am not used to caffine anymore. In more sedate terms - the chips were nice.

The chips of anguish and triumph with the exageration causing coffee

I then continued on and encountered several trampers over the next 30 minutes then no one for the next 2 hours.  I have been surprised all day at how few people are on the trail given it is peak season.

Old mining tractor

Looking back at Furneaux Lodge

The great track continues

And the great views everywhere

I arrived at Camp Bay 1720 and met the Camp Host. After paying the $6 fee I found a nice spot and set up my tent. I was a little disappointed there was no sea views but at least there was nice bush.

When I was filling up my water I met Thor (Germany) who is also doing TA.  After a quick chat I went exploring to look at the beach and nearby lodge. $30 for fish and chips was a little steep so I was happy to head back to the campground.  Thor's other half,  Katherine, was there now so we chatted. We brought our cooking gear down to the table and ate dinner together.  At the late hour of 2030 we retired to our tents.

Night 65

This is the only part of Te Araroa that needs a permit