Day 2: 0 km, Invercargill
It’s funny to have our first zero day on day two, but that’s only because we decided to switch which day we made our resupply boxes with which day we were going to start. So today we worked on our resupply boxes. It was much harder and more time consuming than I imagined, and it was hot, and our room at the backpackers had no air conditioning, so we constantly were struggling to stay hydrated and keep concentrating on the task at hand.
Finally we figured out how much food to send to which towns at which addresses, and sent 5 packages out. Hopefully we sent enough food in each – it’s hard to really know without counting calories, and I didn’t have it in me to do that.
We got to the post office before it closed with a ride from the generous owners of the backpackers, and mailed everything out. By 6:30pm I was fast asleep.
Day 3: Invercargill to Riverton, 32 km
We decided to set our alarms for 4:45am so as to try to do as much of the beach walk during low tide as possible. There was a warning in our notes about getting to a stream crossing, which would be difficult at high tide.
The sunrise was beautiful, and happened quite soon after we got going. The days are REALLY long now.
Unfortunately, low tide was at 7:40am, so pretty quickly, the tide started coming in on us. 20km into our day, we hit the stream. Honestly, I could barely even tell it was a stream. It was ankle deep at most. I almost didn’t believe that this was the stream the notes were talking about (how could this thing ever be dangerous?) but after another hour went by, it was clear that was it.
The beach was beautiful, and we were glad to have our umbrellas to protect us from the sun.
At some point we intersected our first other Te Araroa hiker, a southbounder named Sebastian from Germany, who was also carrying an umbrella, and a Gossamer Gear backpack, so we bonded over that. Apparently there are other northbounders ahead of us (no surprises).
The tide kept creeping in on us, and by noon we were getting pushed onto unfavorable terrain. Up until now, the beach was flat as a pancake with wet, compacted sand. I wanted to walk quickly so that we had as little time on the much more difficult soft sand and rocks that were above the high tide mark.
My hips ached, and the muscles around my shoulder started to cramp, and John told me I was limping a bit. I didn’t want to stop though.
Right as it became almost impossible to walk below the high tide mark anymore, we saw a road leading off from the beach, and we took it, and took a nice long break in the shade of a shed.
From there it was only a mile or so to downtown Riverton where we had a reservation at a backpacker’s hostel.
We shopped for food, met a few other hikers in the hostel including our first other northbound hiker, who was not far behind us, named Jeremey.
I think we’ll wake up early again tomorrow and try to do our last beach walk for a long time at low tide again. From here we have about 7 days until we reach Te Anau, but there is a small place to resupply along the way called Otautau, so we’re only carrying 3 days of food from here.