After last night’s shenanigans, I started the day with very little sleep, and in Ohai. The police officer had said he’d be in around 8:30 or so and I could come in and get coffee and such. By 9 he still hadn’t arrived so I hit the road.
Despite being passed by about 6 different cars I didn’t get any bites with my thumb out so I ended up walking the whole 9km back out to the trail. The access rules for the day say that the trail is only accessible during daylight hours and that folks should start walking by 10am to ensure thy have enough time. I started in on the trail closer to 11.
What came next was a very lovely walk through Mt. Linton Station. This place is huge. HUGE. I was literally walking through it for 9 hours. Amazingly large. They have sheep and cows and I saw and harassed plenty of both. There were lots of bunnies too but not like a paddock full of them, just around. I’m curious if this is an intentional thing or what. It seems to me that having wild rabbits you’d end up with tons of them, given their breeding habits. Maybe these have a specific function and they’re all neutered?
Seriously, did I mention this place was huge? I felt like around every corner there was another stunning view or huge herd of animals. More than once I had to needle my way through large groups of cows, hoping they’d let me past without getting too upset at me. The number of times the question “are female cows protective of their young?” went through my mind as I walked within a few feet of these huge animals is uncountable. Now, generally you aren’t supposed to get up close and personal with the critters on a farm. I don’t worry about sheep because they just run off. I at one point was pushing quite the herd ahead of me. But cows. They’re stubborn. And these groups were so huge there was literally no way to go around them, you had to go through. Fortunately, all of the interactions ended without me getting hurt. At one point there was this huge old bull laying down and I’d just walked through a herd of females and calves. I was really trying hard not to wake him up. I have already had bulls get uppity with me, and they were on the other side of a fence. No way do I want to upset one up close and personal!
Finally I started down what I thought was the final descent into the campsite for the night. A good distance into it I realized I hadn’t seen any orange markers for a bit, looked at my map and sure enough I’d missed a turn. I’d already descended quite a bit though and the main route had me descending then making another huge climb to go around the back of a mountain before descending again. At this point I was absolutely not interested in any of that so I decided to stick with the road I was on as it would take me where I wanted to go anyways.
So I get to the bottom and there’s nobody at the campsite. Except that’s not the campsite it’s further up. So I start walking. Then I check and no, that was the campsite?! But the campsite is off the Station? Then I check s different map and it’s actually even further up the road, and another river crossing. The trail seemed to disappear several times trying to follow the river side of a fence between a road and a river and I ended up going through some really awful surfaces to get through. I was not happy. After what felt like an eternity I saw a couple of people and tents, and made my way down to them.
Salty as I was from the day’s struggles I didn’t make for very good company. I was happy to be done, though.
I took a good number of pictures but there aren’t really any words to go along with them. The one with the river in the distance and the fence on the side was the first view I’d had of the river valley and it was jaw dropping. Cresting a hill and seeing that was definitely a highlight of the day.