2 hours. 2 hours. 7-9 hours. That’s the time estimates I was looking at for today.
Set my alarm for 6:30am, got out of bed around 6:40. Put the kettle on and went to use the glorious flush toilet outside. Heavenly. Cold as hell, but whatever. Came back in, drank some tea, packed some stuff and ate a bar for breakfast. Finished packing and hit the road. Out of the hut by 7:30am.
Flew down the trail. The first section was lots of descent and kinda rooted so it wasn’t the easiest going. Felt like I took forever. Second section was also fairly up and down, but there were lots of bridges!
At the second hut, Captain’s Creek, I had just walked outside and my ride showed up.
Sadly, they didn’t actually give me a ride. It sounded kinda like they would have but they were picking up 2 other people or something. I told the guy I had to try, the worst he could say was no! It was a DOC employee dropping some stuff off at the hut. Not every day you have timing that good!
Onward! More up and down. And then a very lovely swimming hole.
If I hadn’t been in a race against the clock to get some food I would have gone for a swim. It looked glorious. I heard from some other folks that it was indeed glorious.
Then on to the road walk. 15km or so on a very lightly used gravel road. I saw one truck, and one tractor heading opposite the direction I wanted to go. I saw some sort of inspector or something off to the side, and at one point I saw an suv enter the road ahead of me going my direction. That’s it. Almost no chance I was going to get a ride. It didn’t matter, I was still flying. And despite the crappy road walk, the views were rather nice.
Just before the bridge to the campground I had a welcoming party. They must have heard I was anxious to get a burger in my face.
And then I finished at the campground at about 4:15! I thought the cafe there was supposed to close at 5 but apparently it was 4! Though they seemed to still be serving people, so I got a coke, a couple of pies, and a huge bag of chips.
Campground was $18 per person, and it was still fairly early, so I decided to try my luck at hitching to town. There’s a holiday park in town so I wasn’t worried about no vacancy. There’s always room for another tent camper at holiday parks in my experience. I managed to get a ride from a couple from Buenos Aires, a place high on my list to visit, and got a room at the local BBH.
I met back up with John and Christine and we shared stories about our day, they had gotten picked up by some folks and John rode in the trunk. It sounded pretty awesome. They’re heading out to the Queen Charlotte tomorrow, and I think I am, too. I need to stop into the I-site and make all of my arrangements and then I’ll hitch my way over to Anakiwa and hit the trail. Honestly though at this point I could take it or leave it. The Richmonds were absolutely amazing, and if I were to finish right here, right now, I’d feel like I had completed my mission. But we’ll see tomorrow when I talk to The I-Site folks!
Looking forward to coffee and some form of breakfast tomorrow! Hopefully I can find an accommodation on the trail with some good food for tomorrow night!