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Day 165 (And one year) Back on the Trail

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Start Glendhu Bay, Wanaka

Finish On a Ridge somewhere in the Otago High country

Start 9.15am

Finish Forgot to look. About 6.30pm I think.

Distance 19km

Total 2623km

Steps 31,841

Climbed 1718m

Descent 838m

Weather Sunny

Spare boot on a ridge - just in case you have lost one

One year to the day since the COVID lockdown announcement pulled me off Te Araroa. It seems like the perfect timing to restart and finish off the last 399km.

It was with significant trepidation I got a lift to the spot I left off. I had doubts about wanting to come back on the trail, doubts about my trail fitness, fears about how much my feet would hurt and concern about how cold it would be.

Sitting on a ridge watching the sun set over the magnificent Otago high country, with the golden glow of the tussock, the majestic mountains as a back drop and the valleys spreading their fingers in every direction I shouldn't have spent the time worrying. I am very firmly back in my happy place.

The evening light making the tussock glow

The start of the trail at Glendhu has mysteriously become 2605km mark on the TA map. When I left it last year it was 2600km! Go figure. So I have managed to gain 5km without moving. I did re-walk a couple of the first kms from last year so it nearly evens out.

There was a great deal of climbing today. More than anticipated as I hadn't studied the map closely enough. Quite a good plan that, as I would have worried even more. Impressed with how my legs held up, and even more impressed when I had energy to spare when I arrived at Highland Creek hut where I had planned to stay.

Climbing up the first valley from Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka

I remained indecisive for some time about staying put or continuing on. I had seen no one all day and was likely to have the hut to myself which was very appealing. It was a lovely hut and I liked the idea of chilling out on my first day. It was only 4pm when I arrived. I finally decided to walk some more with the thought of watching the sun set and rise tomorrow morning if I could find a flattish spot on a ridge.

I did make a rookie mistake, and didn't fill my water bladder at the stream by the hut. I didn't want to carry a full one up the hill, expecting one of the smaller creeks on the way to have water. That was a fail. The creek I was counting on had a drip of water - actually a drip off some moss. The rest was a sliver of water across rocks or it went underground. I was in need of water for the evening and had completely run out, so I spent a good 20 minutes holding the water bladder under the drip to gather about 500ml.

I came down the ridge in the centre, into the valley, then came up the other side and across the track in the foreground

Despite this small test of my patience I am very pleased I had decided to continue. My camp site is not particularly flat or big, but good enough (I may revisit that assessment in the morning), and any discomfort is outweighed by the views. I am lying in my sleeping bag listening to deer roar, having watched a glowing sunset over the mountains.

On the funny side my Garmin watch, which does almost everything except make a cup of tea, also tells me what my next training session should be based on my recent activities. It has just told me to rest for 4 days! I like the sound of that but it may take a while to get to Bluff at that rate.

I am so very grateful to be living in such a beautiful country where doing this is possible. A great first day back on the trail.

Campsite night 165

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