Day 5: Martin’s Hut to Merrivale Hut

Easily the hardest day yet. Started off with more climbing like what got me up to martins hut, with more mud now that it had rained. But it felt ok. Got to the top of the first climb and was feeling pretty good.

This morning I’d decided to make one of my bottles up with some hydration powder I picked up and kept it as my second bottle. I feel like I just can’t get enough water in me ever so I was trying to ration a bit figuring it was probably just that I needed to whet my palate and not that I was in desperate need of fluids. This turned out to be a great idea. That bottle was delicious and I worked to try to savor every last drop.

Came across my first set of southbounders for the day and they were already pretty well done. I was just about to begin my descent to the quarry and was running very low on water so I asked about water on the quarry road and was happy to hear that the water was clean, delicious, plentiful, and cold! Gave me something to look forward to as I nursed the last remaining bits of my bottles.

As expected, the water at the quarry road was indeed all of those things. Before doing anything else I quickly drank 2 full bottles, then filled up a third and sat down to put some food in my face.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with is eating. I know I’m not eating nearly enough. But if I try to put a bar down it’s like I have to choke it down (sometimes literally) my mouth gets so dried out. One bar might take me 10 minutes to eat. I can rinse it down with water, but when water is scarce that’s hard to do. I dunno. I’m working on that. I do know that much more sugary electrolyte drink powder is in my future.

Then I made the very agonizing climb up to the high point for the day. The view was amazing but I could have used some shade at the top to be able to savor it some more. Instead I quickly made my way to the next part of the day.

Which turned out to be a fairly gradual descent through tussock bog and forest track. After what felt like forever I finally reached the road to the finish. And much like the previous day, I thought I was finished but really had much more to do. Walking on unsealed gravel is really hard on the feet. Rocks are big, sharp, uneven, and they feel like they’re cutting through your shoes. Add to this the fact that I’m descending pretty steeply and that my feet have been in wet shoes the entire day and I wasn’t happy.

Finally I reached the gate. More gravel. Less smooth spots on this road too. But it was a “short” 3km to the hut. Felt like 300km.

This was a nice little hut on some private land. They had some small food items for sale and clean mattresses to sleep on. And most importantly water. Water I didn’t need to filter. I washed clothes. They’re dry. I have dry clothing for the morning. It’s amazing.

Going forward I need to start taking my shoes off when I rest so I can let them relax a bit. The skin was all wrinkled and had been solidified in a wrinkled state by the constant abuse they’d taken all day. They hurt. Badly. I have a couple of new blisters to try to take care of. But tomorrow is supposedly a much easier day, so we’ll see how I do. It’s likely I’m going to take a rest day from Birchwood Station, though I’ll probably head into Ohai and get a room at the hotel. I still have way too much food and there’s a whole huge box of it (5.5kg!) waiting for me at Birchwood. It needs sorted. I need to swap some stuff out. I think it’ll be a good time and place to do it.

Anywho I’m in camp for the night finally and now it’s time for dinner and bed.

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