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Day 164 Lockdown stops my TA journey

22 March 2020

Start Wanaka

Finish Glenhu Bay

Distance 18km - including 1km towards the track and then back again to Glendhu Bay

Total 2601km

This is written a year later, however I remember it perfectly clearly. I started off in the morning from Wanaka thinking I could get at least the next section completed to Arrowtown, and if I was lucky I would make it to Bluff in three weeks if I hurried and didn't take any more rest days, thereby avoiding any lockdown.

The walk along the lakefront towards Glendhu Bay was pretty enough, although my overriding thoughts were whether I would get to complete the TA, and should I be checking my phone.

I arrived at Glenhu Bay, the 2600km mark, and took the obligatory photo on a dull overcast day on the lakefront. I decided not to turn on my phone. I continued for a kilometre up the metal road towards the beginning of the Motatapu Track. Finally, at about 1.30pm, I decided I better check my phone. Luckily I still had reception and there were messages from family and friends telling me the lockdown had been announced. I checked the news, hoping they were somehow wrong. They weren't. A phone call to Dave to work out how I would get back to Nelson, and the decision was made that he would drive the 12 hours to get me as we didn't want the risk of travelling public transport, even if it was possible.

I walked back to the campground at Glendhu and booked a cabin to wait for Dave, coming across other TAers reaching the realisation our journeys were at an end - for now anyway.

Once in my cabin the enormity of COVID-19 hit me, although in hindsight I really had no idea of the worldwide impact it would have. I consoled myself with the thought that I can come back at a later time to finish the last 399km, and my imposition was nothing to the impact COVID was having on others. Those thoughts didn't stop a wave of disappointment coming over me, but certainly put my predicament into perspective.

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