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south island trip, part 4

abel tasman ends

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yeah i know it is ridiculous that i have this many entries about my south island trip. way too much detail. blame it on the uselessness of trying to be an acceptable human being when you're transitioning. this past week has been a long one.

our last full day on the track we were starting to feel the burn. blisters. aching shoulders. we split up the tent between us, which made for much smarter carrying, though it also tripled my width. we crossed a long swing bridge (which i had to sidle down sideways, thanks tent) and took a side trip to cleopatra's pool, where we lunched and dozed on the sunny boulders that form the pool's bowl. luckily we didn't fall into any ditches because our provisions were running low -- perfect amount for the trip, if only that duck hadn't stolen a piece of bread.

less up-and-down than on the previous day, which was good, given our sore muscles. we camped in appletree bay, one of the small campsites not associated with the track's four huts. tried to pitch the tent right on the beach but the intense wind kept blowing it away, so we took shelter behind a big bush and even then had to zip the tarp into the tent to keep it from flying off. stakes and sand aren't friends. played boggle: zack beat me for once. early night and i found a little nook in the sand and the combination of exhaustion and sandy nook meant i slept quite well.

we woke at 5am. troopers. packed up the tent, ate. ate the entire apple. ritual by this point. from the track we saw the sun rising behind the clouds. an hour and a half and we were hiking across the last stretch, a long boardwalk across an estuary where messages nestled in the sand, spelled out with heavy rocks that the tide leaves untouched. names. love vows.

our little nissan was waiting in the aquataxi parking lot. i drove us to picton, kirstin and zack often dozing along the way. we got there with plenty of time to spare before the ferry, and it's a sleepy town, not much to do, wandered into some souvenir shops, ate at the third best bakery in nz. the ferry was easy and not at all exciting. big, slow, ponderous, not much view.

friendly familiar wellington welcomed us and we checked in to the same hostel we'd been at exactly two weeks before: this time, though, in time for free dinner. small portion of fish and chips that we decided to treat as appetizers. had a few beers and played in the short pub quiz and were ONE POINT away from winning and very angry, because:

- answered "83" to "how old is the queen of england?" and she's 82
- answered "160" to "how many liters in a barrel of oil?" and it's 159
- answered "mt. cook" to "what's the highest peak in nz?" and it was mt. cook before a recent earthquake but now it's ruapehu

we got prizes anyway, two shirts and a frisbee. then we ate delicious indian food. then we slept. next day, nine-hour drive, took a different route than last time and drove through beautiful tongariro and chatted about marxism and communism and passed dozens of wineries and ate the last of our salami on bread from the bakery and tried not to think about our exams and that was our trip, a good one to end on, no question.

Posted by ctamler 03:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

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