Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

Day 45

October 16th, 2015

Oct 15 day 45. National Park 0 km.

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Turns out I need to take a couple of unanticipated zero days to work out the river transportation. A large segment of the trail is impassable because of a collapsed bridge, so the best (only) strategy is to put in the water at Wades Landing and canoe all the way to Whanganui (about 160 km after a 50 km hike). I’ve been working with Gavin at Yeti tours, who is incredibly helpful and he connected me with Cory from Canada, a thruhiker I have been trailing for weeks. He arrived at National Park today, wants to zero tomorrow, so I’ll wait and hike out with him to Whakahoro where we meet up with Gavin and the canoes. Today was a good break for me– went to the Park Inn for breakfast, the Macrocarpa Cafe for coffee, and the train station for lunch. In that time, I polished up my opening chapter to the Pennine Way book, and sent it off to Granta. Here’s hoping they like it. This afternoon Cory came in, we got acquainted– interesting guy. The hostel is crowded with adventurers, people on gap years seeing the world, retired people on gap years seeing the world. There is a wonderful hum and buzz in the kitchen area while each prepare meals and talk about their day, plotting out the next. Such anticipation. Also met back up with Sophie and Pierre who just finished the Tongiriro Crossing, so it is old home week for the Te Araroa thruhikers. Just need Teddy, who is still back in Auckland. Spent late evening in Schnapps Bar with a German man who is working in Australia, a German woman mathematician, and a Portuguese engineer. All are touring around for a few months. Zero days can be strange–not just the lack of a backpack on my back, but also that weird insouciance that comes with skipping work. Long distance hiking becomes a job– not in the boring quotidian ways some jobs can become, rather the walking is what defines being, so not walking, or strolling in Tevas between places that have food and coffee seems the ultimate indulgence. Those who save their money to go to spas etc. miss out on real luxury. Breakfast seated in a chair with a back is more delicious than all the luxuries such places offer.

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