Today is my final day on Te Araroa Trail!! We all woke around 6.30am this morning. Laura was off first, heading NOBO up to Stag Saddle. The morning was fresh but not too cold, and thankfully it wasn’t raining! Phil, Mike and I headed out around 8am. My last day on Te Araroa Trail started pretty easily walking down the Camp Stream river valley, which meant wet feet within 10 minutes..sigh..
We turned into Coal Stream river valley and went up and over the hills to then walked parallel with the Richmond mountain range, all the while marvelling at the views across Lake Tekapo. We crossed Washdyke Stream then at Boundary Stream headed towards the road. We took things at a really leisurely pace today.
The boys both had niggling foot injuries and I was trying to arrange accommodation for us at Lake Tekapo, which was proving really difficult.. everything was booked except for some tent sites at the holiday park – I’d fancied a bit of luxury for my last night on TA but it wasn’t to be.
When we came out on the road at Boundary stream we still had about 15kms to walk. We slowly walked about 7kms of it, before we saw the rainclouds coming in over Mt John to the West and Stag Saddle to the North.
After much deliberation we all decided to call it a day and get a lift the last 7 Kms – the boys didn’t feel like continuing with their respective injuries/niggles, and I was more than happy not to walk 7km more road!! Should I have walked that last 7kms? Probably, but I’m no ‘purist’, and none of us were enjoying it at this late stage of the day. I have no regrets 🙂
When we got to Lake Tekapo we checked in to our accommodation, put up our tents then straight away went for an epic meal in Mackenzie’s restaurant. I celebrated with a glass of bubbles, a massive rare fillet steak, a couple of glasses of pinot noir, and I enjoyed a mini pav for dessert – amazing!!
And that was that… I became someone who had just walked the length of New Zealand (in the non-purist way). I can’t really describe how it feels to have finished. I didn’t shed any tears, jump for joy or any of the big stuff… I just don’t have to get up early tomorrow and walk 30kms!
The journey has been my life for the past 5 months, and it’s been the life of everyone else I’ve met over the past 5 months. It’s been amazing to be a part of this group of wonderful crazy humans, wandering through the most beautiful country on earth!
I’ll post my thoughts, overview, final tips and gear list in a few days time. For now, I’m having a couple of days rest and relaxation in Tekapo before heading back to the Waikato.