Day 178 An Insane Night
5 April 2021 Telford Campsite to Birchwood Station Shearers Hut Start 7.20am Finish 3.05pm Distance 27km Total 2847km Steps 42,780 Ascent 915m Descent 1215m Last night was insane. I have never experienced anything like it. When I went to go to sleep it was a little windy and I wasn't anticipating too much sleep. What we got instead were gales. Gales in a tent are not a good thing. The noise aside, tents aren't really designed for that strength of wind.
There were four of us camped, and not one of us got any sleep- genuinely no sleep. The wind picked up about 9pm and simply increased in ferocity. Initially it was strong gusts intermittently, progressing to more regular and ultimately at about 3.30am constant ferocious winds for about an hour and a half before going back to gusts.
The peg for the guy rope to my tent pole came out half a dozens times, each time I had to get out of the tent and hammer it back in. At 3.30am I took out the pole and wrapped the tent around me like a cocoon and spent the rest of the night like that. At the same time Jordy's tent disintegrated, the wind shredding it, so he decided to just get up and continue walking on the trail. At a river crossings where he couldn't see the depth he huddled by a rock and tried to sleep.
Ken packed everything into his pack and placed his pack and himself on the leeward side of the tent trying to prevent it from blowing away.
It is all we have talked about today, all of us a bit stunned and incredibly tired. Also very grateful it wasn't raining.
The walking today was over Linton Station, a working beef and sheep farm. It was long and hilly and my feet hurt. To top off the days moaning, we arrived at the Shearers Hut on Birchwood Station in the knowledge the local pub would come and pick us up and drop us back after a meal at there restaurant.
What do you know, they are closed on Easter Monday. So rather than steak and chips I had cup-a-soup and crackers. Gutted!!! On a side note, I have been suspicious of the TA map for some time, wondering how the total distance is a convenient round 3000k, yet the trail in between is constantly changing as access across land in gained to minimize road walking. My watch also tells me how far I've walked, and it is constantly 2-3 km more per day. Today was point in fact, with my watch saying I had done 29.5km rather than the 27km on the map. The DOC signs are equally unreliable. At this end of today's trail it said Telford Campsite was 19km away - a significant under stating of the real distance. It is only 7.05pm, but I think I need to go to bed. Another big day tomorrow.