January 6, 2017
km traveled today: 18 + long hitch off trail into Nelson
total TA km: 1808 (Pelorus Bridge, where we’ll be starting from on the 12th)
Today we started our little five-day detour from the trail to chill and wait for Shep in Nelson.
We awoke in the clear but cold and wet seaside early-morning – in the Tarptent my gear had thankfully sustained less-than-average wettening overnight. Knowing that later In the day we might have to walk some distance on road before getting picked up, we broke camp pretty quickly and were on our way, following the campground’s gravel driveway back up to the track. We took a wrong turn along the way though, which ended up adding about a half hour extra, but made it back up to the track in fine time.
The hike was a breeze! Sweet views, of increasing numbers of boats and houses speckled onto the land and sea scape, and super mellow ascents and descents, practically flat the whole way. It was about 12 km in maybe 3 hours until we reached the end of the track in beautiful Anakiwa. From there, though, it was a hot sunny paved road walk for about 4 km to reach a busyish road, and another k and a half for Jack and me until we got picked up.
Jasper was walking alone and got picked up after about a km, but Calvin, who we’ve been more or less walking with for a couple days, didn’t get picked up for like three hours!
The ride into Nelson was long and windy and hilly, and we passed through some nice country and alongside some beautiful sparkling coastline. At Pelorus bridge our good Samaritan drivers, Aidee and Fiona, holidayers from the U.K., stopped for a bit to take pictures of the gorge and turquoise pools, before we continued on, diverting for the first time from the TA path (we’ll be trying to get back to Pelorus Bridge to resume our hike on the eleventh).
Nelson was about another 45 minutes away and jack and I dozed a little in the sunny backseat.
After getting dropped off in Nelson jack and I explored the downtown, with a focus on the city parks, where we heard there was free camping allowed, but over the course of the next few hours we learned that actually this only applied to camper vans, not tents, so we instead tried valiantly to find a vacancy at a backpackers’ somewhere in town. After striking out everywhere we tried and posting desperately in the TA facebook group, we eventually asked the lovely folks at the i-Site (always go there first!) who found us a couple beds at the Royal Hotel. We crashed for a bit at the ho(s)tel, which is in an old, sort of sketchy-looking building with a pub on the ground floor and earthquake-prone-structure notices in the windows.
To treat ourselves after an all things considered pretty short and easy day, we went to the cinema to catch a showing of Moana, which rocked, and got some pizza right above the theater, which also rocked!
We’ve just gotten back to our room and are approaching sleepland, and thinking of what we can do to occupy ourselves in Nelson besides planning and sending food boxes further along down the island – maybe biking, canyoning, and maybe a couple-day trip into Kahurangi National Park to explore some huts and peaks!
Until next time!