Trip Report TA: South Island pt6


Today is a zero day. After contemplating the condition my feet are in I decide it is not worth putting them through more injury. I have only two(!) days of hiking left to complete the TA but I'm in no rush. It hails in the morning as I leave the pub and hitch to Invercargill. I spend most of the day lounging at McDonald's and then get a book, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, from the library before hanging out in a hostel for the night.

Today is a zero day. Babying my feet has seen improved results. The skin is reforming and the tenderness is subsiding. I spend the day back at Macca's and with my head down in my book. I reconnect with the group of European boys I joined for Waiau Pass as we gorge at KFC for dinner.

I'm getting restless and my feet feel strong enough for some easy walking. I decide to reconnect my footpath to Aparima by walking back there from Invercargill NOBO along the TA. Excitedly I run into Sydney at the hostel and we catch each other up to where we have been. She's already finish so I say a proper goodbye and head out. It is a long beach walk along Oreti Beach and I'm followed by light rain all day. I arrive in Aparima by 1400h and quickly hitch back to Invercargill for the night. Having finished my current book I get a new one out, Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov.

Today is a zero day. The walking yesterday was not horrible but it was discomforting enough to warrant another day of rest. I spend the morning reading at McDonald's and reconnect with Clay!!! Fate has brought us back together as he needs to finish within the next day or so to catch a flight home. We plan to finish together tomorrow! We have delicious Indian food for dinner and I catch up with Philip at the hostel as he will also be finishing tomorrow.

Lookout Point

The finale! Clay and I leave early and begin the unexciting road/cycle path walk to Bluff. The weather is perfect and it's the first clear skies I seen in awhile. The last 8km(5mi) of the trail are magical. We are set onto the Foveaux Walkway which is a lovely coastal walk with views of rugged rock outcrops and then a packed gravel trail climb up to Motupōhue. We get a 360deg view of the southern most point of the South Island. We joke around on our descent to distract ourselves from the fact that journey is rapidly approaching it end.

Foveaux Walkway Done

And then...we arrive. The southern terminus, similar to the northern terminus I had touched four months ago, stands there silently with a backdrop of endless sea and crashing waves. I walk slowly with my breath in my throat and touch the pole. We take photos and try to find the words to share how we feel. Clay gets Brandon, Michael and Arjuna on a voice call and they congratulate us. There's nothing more to be said so reality sets in and we hitch out way back to Invercargill for the night. Clay will fly out in two days from Christchurch while I'll make my way back to spend a day or two with Bri before flying out from Queenstown.

Clay and I

If you are interested in my post trip retrospective of what went well and what went wrong the click down below to read on.

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