Day 2 and 3 – a grueling pace
This will probably be a pretty long blog post so hold onto your knickers..
So yesterday we picked up from our campground at 7:30am and taken to the office in charge of this trek. The HumpRidge Track. I guess a handful of people had their backpacks helicoptered to where they were staying the first night. Kinda cool I guess. Probably pretty expensive.. We were told we needed to get to our campground lodge place between 5-7 or they would send out a search party for us.. heh… (its summer here so it gets dark about 9:30pm). No problem! Nice an easy start! Just tramping along and this trail runs along the shoreline for quite some time. Beautifulllll! Hiked on the beach quite a ways then back into jungle that felt like we were in Jurassic park. Huge plants with huge leaves. They looked like huge ferns..? Some places looked exactly like where the velociraptors were running along to kill people in the first movie. This is the calm before the storm.. We think we are doing pretty well! Up and down through jungle and the sun is out and shining. We kept getting told we came at the right time.
The trail is very well marked. We barely even look at the map. Our tired faces at checkpoint 4. Looking at the map we barely made it anywhere!! Plus we are already tired and we have a huge mountain to climb soon?? Geeze. So we make it point 5 where there is a hut..
If that isn’t reassuring, I don’t know what is. Getting water is pretty cool in a New Zealand kind of way. There is a bridge a short walk with some kind of pot attached to a rope. There is a fast moving creek below so you have to lower the pot down and get water and pull it back up. I have a video of Igor doing it. Everyone says the waterfalls and streams in NZ are safe to drink. Igor does. I use my filter and filter it into my 2 single liter bottles. Have a small meal with our jetboils in the hut. We picked up gas right before we came there. All prepared for this hill and I tell Igor….this is probably going to be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. No joke. Looking back on it, it might have been for the both of us. In the first 3 hours of the hike, Igor broke both of his trekking poles. Light isn’t always better I guess? One of them kind of works after we mess with it. I gave him one of mine. This trail sometimes we have to climb with our hands grabbing a hold of trees etc. We do literally stop every 5 minutes to rest. I don’t think Ive sweat that much in a very long time. My shirt was soaked, even though its an expensive shirt from MEC that wicks away moisture.
We both for some reason have in mind that our finish line is at number 6 instead of 7. Shoulder pain. Back pain. Neck pain. Pain pain. Once we realized it was almost mid way up that it wasn’t the finish line. All motivation left and panic set in. Igor started to freak out. I was pretty nervous if we could even make it to the top. When Igor panics, he doesn’t like to eat. NOT good if we are burning hundreds of calories an hour. I have to keep telling him every stop. Take another bite of your granola bar. Another. Another. He starts shutting down. He has a camel back of water and I have 2 bottles. I prefer the camel back but I wanted to know how much water I had. He had his orange juice bottle from the morning filled up but didnt fill his camel back up. I am now loaning him my water. Which really starts to freak me out. I have a full bottle left after we Finnish another one of mine. If we don’t get up this hill I’m going drop my backpack and climb. He seriously talked about getting up the next number and leaving his backpack there and coming back for it in the morning. Slowly but surely.. We painstaking make it up the hill. The campground sent out 2 people looking for us when we were 10 minutes from it. They were relieved and one guy took Igor’s pack and hauled it back. We kind of thought we had to setup our tents but they had some people cancel and got our own room with 4 bunk beds. All Igor wanted as a beer on the mountain and all I wanted was a snickers bar. They had both. Lol. Had a celebratory before for making with, backpacks in tact.
I have to give it to Igor. He said he almost had a panic attack but calmed himself and kept going. He never gave up! Determination at its finest. The main kitchen had an amazing view, which I saw in the morning. We got ‘shower tokens’. One each. Good for a 4 min shower!? It was $10 for another. We both bought 1 more. Best 8 minutes of my life. LOL HOT shower. Saw signs that said we needed to be out by 9am the next day to make it time to get to the next lodge. The next morning they served porridge at 7:30am. Every food is amazing now. At least we saw on the map that it was just downhill and shouldn’t’ be near as bad. There was a lookout that was a bit higher but we were able to take off our packs to go up and see. We took pictures up there and we pretty much ended up leaving the area by 10am. Ehhhh an hour isn’t too bad, as it was just downhill stuff. There was wood planking all the way on top of the ridge to the campground and back to where we headed to our second lodge. We had to go up for the first hour. Muscles and bodies not recovered from the day before Igor sits down and says his vision is going and out, He sometimes only sees highlights? Not good. We take like a 30 min break where he recovered and is good to go. We just need a slower pace going up hills and that worked. Just pushing too hard. A sign says we will get to a food and water shelter in 2 hours. It takes us 3. We cook some food, hydrate and take some ibuprofen. I have learned that you need 3 things for a solid performing body. Food. Water. Rest. We had throw 3 things and with little pain we head down the mountain with 1000 steps and tree roots and mud and rocks and suckiness. You really have to watch your knees going down. It’s tough on them. So I braced my poles going down every step. We are going down hill for like 3 hours at a good speed. I feel good, we are basically making up time! We just need to get to the bottom and it should be fine. We get down to the bottom feeling good till I look at the map. It was like 4pm and I saw that we were only halfway… We were pushing so hard only to find out we had so much more to go. Our motivation and our pace was good, then we ran into a bridge that was out of order. There was like 100 steps down …cross this stream then 100 steps up. Maybe I’m exaggerating the 100 steps but it was at least. Incredibly tired was sat down at the top. It started raining.. Coool. After panting for 15 minutes we start to move. We followed some abandoned railroad tracks with no tracks. Tons of mud and water. Sometimes stepping in mud that would go up over the toe in our shoes. There are white poles every kilometer that say how many left till the lodge. We were running physical fumes. Igor cussing all the way. We celebrate each kilometer by takings break. It looked funny..but every time we took a break we just bent forward so we were horizontal with the ground and leans on our poles to take the weight off our shoulders. “Break!” *Bow quickly face towards the ground* We FINALLY made it. Still raining Igor barely made it to a picnic table. Staggering. I’m in a lot of pain as well, but now he staggers when he walks without his pack on. He says it doesn’t hurt but his muscles don’t want to work properly. We again ask for another shower token to have an 8 minute shower. I can see where my backpack rested on my shoulders. Nice thick red lines from my neck down to my armpits. My calves and thighs are sore.
We were thinking the last day of the hike would be pretty easy. Just hike back by the beach and out. We will be returning to the same guy and same place we got dropped off at. George the drive told us that in a few days he would pick us up at pm to head back. I’m talking to the lady that works at this lodges who was in the van as well and she said we needed to get back by 2:30pm! Day 1, 20km. Day
2, 20 km. Day 3, 20 km. She said he had other people he needed to pick up and drop off and she wondered how we were going to get there in time? Hold on….we PAID for this trek and all we have gotten was pain and you have to be here at this time. I asked how it was possible to get there by 2:30pm. “Well…you need to have your bags packed and ready so you can leave 7:30am tm. Take a 5 min break here, lunch 15 there and 2 more 5 min breaks here. Don’t stop at the beach, you wont have time.” What horrid news. Igor wasn’t there at the time we talked but I really didn’t want to tell him before he had a shower and ate. Well he came in and sat down. She starts talking and I basically say I don’t think we can make that. Igor is seriously limping and I’m walking like I have to take a huge poop. She gave us 2 other options. Kind of jokingly she said he could have a helicopter ride back. She said for $1000. Pshhhh no. She’s also said that we could stay the night there when we got back and George would just grab us the day after. Then she made some calls. We are to call the office of the trail we are on at this certain point. They would come get us at the end of the trail so George didnt have to. We can take as long as we want. Good. She asked if we had any plans after that. I guess Igor planned another hike starting sometime tomorrow. She said that hike was harder than this one. He also booked a hut / campground for that hike. Not happening. So most of the plans were made didnt really work out, but at least we are here. We are going to go back And stay at our first campground, and play it by ear. Taking a day to recoup. Just going to listen to our bodies and figure out the next step. So I’m in the kitchen while everyone else is sleeping so I don’t wake them. My phone is resting on one of Igor’s beers he didn’t finish. Lol
So …you’re caught up. The pretty pictures I post have a lot of pain involved. It’s now 11:45pm and have to wake up by 6:45am.
This all sounds like a crazy kind of torture. I’m doing painfully ok. I just wish Igor knew what he got himself into. Hes 45. Totally honest here, we had only done 4 hikes before this. You just have to jump in. The first week is ALWAYS the hardest. Your body freaks out and yells at you the entire time. It will adapt to you if it knows you will continue to do this. I bet we lost thousands of calories but I’m sure our muscles will be stronger everyday. They have to.
Oh yea, I did a live Facebook broadcast when I went up 57 steps so I could yell down to Igor so he could count on the way up. He was exhausted and just sat down. I don’t seem to be so good with words, but how many people get to see New Zealand? Ill probably do more. Soon.
Thank you for the donations!
Standing strong for those who cant.