Day 183 Second to Last Day!!!
10 April 2021
Riverton to just south of Invercargill
Sea level the whole way
A last minute change of plan and walking far further than I expected today has meant tomorrow I will reach the end of Te Araroa. Just wow!
Let's deal with today first. I had planned to walk about 25km, and have Dave pick me up at the end of the beach walking. I thought I would have a leisurely start, knowing there was a river mouth that couldn't be crossed at high tide at 12 noon. So the plan was to start at about 10am, and wait at the river which was 15km along the beach, until the tide went down enough to cross.
What changed was the weather forecast. Rain was predicted at around 10am to 2pm, which would have made waiting on the beach for the tide to recede a wet, cold and miserable experience. The final deciding factor was waking at 5.30am. There was no point sitting around so I got up and was on my way by just after 6.30am in the almost dark.
It ended up being the absolutely right decision. The high tide covers the whole beach, so if I had left later I would have been walking in the dunes which is incredibly hard. I crossed the river a couple of hours before high tide and it was only just crossable.
At the beginning of the beach I met Sara from Blenheim, who is completing her walk of the South Island. She was walking with her husband who has joined her for these last couple of days. It was great to pass the first couple of hours chatting and sharing experiences.
At the river mouth there was a lesson about driving your vehicle on the beach... a car in the surf on its side. It looked like it hadn't been there too long however was half buried already in the sand.
I was lucky and the rain held off until about midday, and then it was walking alongside the road for 9km into Invercargill in the steady but not too heavy rain. I arrived and was pretty wet and tired, however Dave was still at least an hour away. There was no point just stopping and getting cold so I carried on along the trail, walking a further 5km before Dave was able to pick me up and allow me to get off my very sore and tired feet.
Despite the aching feet, it does however mean getting to the end point in Bluff tomorrow is now very doable, and so that is the plan. The weather forecast is for mostly fine so fingers crossed.