Day 4. Jealous of Igor’s Helicopter Ride

1:26 PM Sunday Blogging about yesterday.

We were put into a room with another young girl and guy and I came in late the night before from typing my blog. Woke up accumulating more pain than the day before. Legs, calves, shoulders. We had porridge at 7:30am and I had a coffee and a can of sprite from the night before. Only place to charge anything was a USB strip in the kitchen to charge my power bank and phone. Igor usually eats like a bird lol. Not very much and kind of picky. It’s hard for him to get a big meal down, but its necessary with all the calories we are about to burn. Right before I head to get my backpack on I had a 2 minute walk to get a picture.

Another amazing view. We get all our gear on and start to walk. I’m sore but I feel like I have regained 75% back to normal. Igor said he felt worse. Much worse. We left before most people did. There might have been 10 people in different rooms. Each day we were supposed to cover 20 kilometers. I think that’s roughly 13 miles..? Ive looked it up before, too lazy to again. I could tell it was going to be a long day if we had to stop at the top of small inclines for him to catch his breath. An hour away from the campground his body broke down on him. He said he legs wouldn’t work anymore. I could see them uncontrollably shaking and his hands and left thumb kept spasming and cramping. We kind of sat for 20 minutes trying to figure out the best options… She mentioned kind of jokingly before we left that if needed we could get a helicopter ride out of there for $5000. Heh. That’s crazy! I don’t think so. As we sat, he kept saying he didn’t know if he could make it, and me being like, yea you can! Being the motivational person I am, I was like we will just stop more often. I could tell nothing I said would work and it would take us at least 13 hours to do this hike if we continued to stop this much. I said out loud, “Lord what do you want me to do??” We had three options. 1. Continue VERY slowly. 2. Go back and see if he recovers in a few days to hike out. 3. Heli him back to the car park for 5 grand. Can you imagine yourself in that situation? I was extremely frustrated and he was even more than I. Shaking and emotionally broken. It’s crazy that he wanted to turn back and pay so much to get out of there…just shows how much pain he was in. We started the slow walk back to camp. I walked on ahead of him so i could talk to the lady working the campground. She looked worried as soon as she saw me. She knew he wasn’t in the best condition leaving. I said to her, his body broke on him an hour out. Legs wont work, cramping, shaking, hand spasms. I told her that staying longer at the camp wasn’t really an option and he was looking into the heli ride for 5 grand…. She said “You guys are lucky! I just ordered the helicopter to come here to pick up a shipment of supplies so it will only be $1000!” Lol….what deal! Igor came and hobbled to a bench and plopped down. She went over to check him out.

She did a few tests and then pushed a thumb down on his arm to see how fast the white fingerprint went away. It’s a way to see if your blood is circulating well enough and if you are hydrated enough. (I’m no doctor, but I know that it’s not good if it stays white for a few seconds). It did. She asked if the only thing he had was the porridge and he did. It’s obviously not enough nor did it have enough salt. (Salt helps with cramps). She said she had to make some quick calls to see if there was room on board for him. While she was on the phone I was discussing where we would meet because I wanted to continue the hike alone. I was about an hour and a half behind schedule now. It was taking us 11 hours a day to get to each campground. It was about 10am so I knew I would have to book it. She got off the phone and said “You guys are really lucky! The heli guy said it was only $400 today to get a lift!” Hahaha yesssss! From $5000 to $400. Ill call that the angel discount. (No such things as coincidences). So we verified that we both had phone and would stay in contact. She said I could take anything I didnt need out of my backpack and leave it for the heli to take. Nice! I unloaded about half of my stuff. She said I needed to call this guy the runs the humpback ridge trail and this bridge right after the beach section ended. For some reason I thought that he would come pick us up before the end of the trail but then quickly realized it was so he had time to get to the park to pick me up. She said something like “Call him at this spot on the bridge where you will have signal and before you take the 1000 steps up”. She was laughing. Figure it was a joke. Anyway, I very quickly left making sure Igor would be ok and we had planned to meet. Go Go Go! I got back to the same spot we stopped in like 25 minutes. It was sooo humid, every time I stopped to take a quick breather and some water I could see steam coming off of me. Even more odd, every time I exhaled I could see my breath like it was really cold, but it wasn’t! A couple hours in I could hear the helicopter fly over head. I took a video which I hope plays in this blog. (Never tried video before, don’t think it will work.)

As it flew over me, I said ” There’s Igor’s ride! Jealous….” I was happy we made the decision to turn back. The hike was a lot more difficult that I thought it would be. Knowing that he was being taken care of was a relief for me as well. After a few hours of sweating and steaming the hike opened up to a short beach walk. It was around noon, so I was feeling hungry and say down on my own private beach front property. Lol. I used my jetboil to quickly boil some water and make eggs and bacon in a small pouch that you just add boiling water to and close the top and wait 10 minutes then you can eat it right out of the bag. Expensive little meals though. The beach seemed to rejuvenate my soul and muscles. The beach has been my happy place for so many years. I couldn’t think of a better place to be. Even though there was time constraints…you have to enjoy the moments you have and not worry about deadlines or the fast pace of life. I got out my drone and played around with it for 2 hours! I was warned against staying on the beach too long because there were ‘sand flies’. Sand flies are about the size of fruit flies, but they bite you and like mosquitos survive on blood of mammals. I had put bug repellent on right before I hit the beach, so I was doing ok. They are 5x worse than mosquitos because they fly quicker, are smaller, and you cant hear them or feel them till after they have bit you! They also find the smallest areas of your skin that you don’t have repellent to bite you! I put it all over my arms, neck and cheeks, and a bit on the back of my hand. Not on the backs of my fingers though. Mistake. I was constantly walking up and down the beach flying the drone because if i stopped they swarmed around me. I think I even jogged a few times to look behind me to see how fast they could fly to keep up. Haha. Also have a blue broad rimmed hat on, it seemed the big honey bees keep thinking its a flower! Flying and landing on my hat! (Things you have no idea about when you buy things in the comfort of your concrete jungle city. Only experience can teach you). When I sat down to eat when I got there they weren’t so bad. As time went on, its like the little flies went home and told family members about this amazing meal and there seemed to be more and more. I was about done flying my drone around when a guy about my age was walking over to me with his big backpack. White fellow with the same hat as I did but not a flower color. Asked if I was just getting footage of New Zealand and we talked for a while. His name was Levi and he was from Australia. He had just been backpacking around and camping for 3 months! Had a decent sized beard and told me a story about a time he was stuck in a hut for 3 days because it was constantly raining. He said he only had a solar panel so his lost all his electricity on the first day. Talked about how bored he was because his kindle died and had no way to charge it. Gave him my card and added each other on facebook. Cool dude! Igor had booked ‘The Kepler Track” for us to start that same day as soon as we got back. LOL. He also booked us three sites to stay along the way. No way that’s happening. I told Levi and he said that many of the huge hikes are owned by the government here and will only let enough people on them till the huts are full. Kind of disappointing. The Kepler was another 3 day hike but was more difficult than the one we just did. I think there should be a disclaimer on the difficulty of the tracks. Ours was ‘moderate’. I think they should say that the kiwis consider it moderate but anyone who doesn’t hike constantly is quite challenging. Levi was just heading to hike some of the south parts of the island.

I figured I wasted too much time and left in haste knowing I had about another 3 hours to go. Back up into the jungle up and down and up and down. Over streams and tiny waterfalls, over suspension bridges that could hold 1 person at a time and swayed and bounced as I walked across. This picture wasn’t one of them. This was just before the beach / bacon and eggs part. I figured the caption would be: I better not!

Eventually I ended up on a beach that seemed like it went on forever!

There was either car tracks to follow a little bit from the coast or you could just walk on the beach the last 7-8 kilometers. (I was covering 1km every 15-18 minutes). They had small white posts that said how many there were left till the destination. Igor called them “little white guys” lol. “Where is that next little fu&$in white guy?!”

Eventually the beach portion ends and I see the large suspension pedestrian bridge. I’m beat. My legs, shoulders, and feet are all really painful and sore now. Funny comparison: I relate the feeling to when you have to go poo. You body somehow knows how close you are to home and your own personal toilet and as you get closer you just have to go more and more! Well its the same thing here excerpt with your muscles. As I knew I was getting closer to the end, my ‘hang in there attitude’ was starting to fail. There was 2 km left. I called and the guy said he would pick me up in 45 minutes. Cool easy enough. I had texted Igor and he got a room back at our first campground and the Last Light Lodge. It was about 20-30 min car ride from where we got dropped off at. They had taken him there and this guy who was some kind of manager for the Humpback trail that we were on would take me there.

Backup a few hours. There weren’t any ‘real’ places to get water along this entire day and I knew it going into it. Two liters of water should have been ok, but since I was going so fast I went through it kind of fast. I have a small water filter but hadn’t really used it in a stream situation where i chose the water source. I eyeballed streams as I walked over and past them. Too dark. Not moving fast enough. Stagnant. Green on the surface. Too much dirt. Too far down. Came across one that was moving pretty well, looked clear, so I pulled off my pack and got my filter stuff out. Ill make a video later of how I do this. There is a small pouch you fill with the ‘dirty’ water then you screen the filter on top of it that has a nozzle on the clean end that you aim into your bottle and you squeeze the pouch to force the water through the filter into your bottle. I filled up another liter. I was really kind of hesitant to drink it..So I waited a few hours till I got to that bridge to even try it. I knew I needed to since my throat was now dry and my lips were starting to feel chapped. Here goes! I gulped down quite a bit. If any side effect would happen I would have already been in good hands. Needless to say its the next day and I’m fine. Trust your gear!

Back to the end of the hike.

I realized after the bridge that I had forgotten how many steps we came down to get to the beach. We were so excited and happy and healthy that it didnt matter, all we talked about was the sound of the ocean erasing any doubts in our minds. Well. It wasn’t 1000 steps but it sure felt like it. At least 200. Why in life are the hardest tests at the very end of the journey?? Like when your season is about over and you know you need to move on but life throws a real tough situation to keep you in fear and where you are, or you can push through it to better things. I now knew why he said 45 minutes for me to cover such a little distance. Made it to the top and still had another 20 min hike. The closer I got the more my body hurt and my feet and shoulders were screaming at me. Through the jungle, twists and turns and more turns relatively flat. I finallly see the end with a small wooden gate and a van in front of it with a guy waiting for me. The first thing he says to me… “Well done!” Those two words meant a lot. God says to you after you have a finished your journey having a faith filled life: “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Mathew 25:21

I dropped my pack in the back and he drove me back to where Igor was at the campground.

Closing out the 3 day hike thoughts:

You never know how far you can push your body till it breaks. Failing is the only way to know and learn from it. No one likes to fail. Just the word sounds so horrible and depressing. I usually say, “You cant fail if you never quit”. Which is true but WHEN we fail, its what you can learn from it that really means if you fail or not. Failing can be our worst enemy or our best teacher.

I somehow can push through pain. Your mind is SO incredibly strong. It controls your breathing, your pain, your fear, your body. When there is nothing to do hiking…your mind immediately listens to your muscles yelling at you to stop! Focus on good thoughts to control that. I mean you realllly need to focus.

We are taking the day off today. The plans that were planned are now cancelled with 100% cancellation fee if its within. 1-3 days. We will just eat the cost and rack it up to experience. We will see how we feel and figure out the next steps from here.


Proverbs 16:9

“We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.”

3 Comments on “Day 4. Jealous of Igor’s Helicopter Ride

  1. WOW!! Quite an adventure already! Thank you for taking so much time to detail your experiences. Just weird that you post your blogs in the future for us !!

  2. Hi Kevin, I’ve just been having a read while my legs recover from this same tramping trip. (Tramping is similar to hiking only more Kiwi haha). Im one half of the young couple you roomed with at Port Craig Lodge, I caught glimpses of you and Igors struggle, and after reading your story I’d like to offer my support.

    Firstly well done for soldiering on and finishing it, I’m a seasoned “tramper” and a Land Search and Rescue volunteer… my legs were also f*#king agony! We were on the second small beach when we saw the chopper fly across the bay and stop in at Port Craig Lodges, we wondered if they were picking you two up and hoped you were ok! Well done Igor for making a smart choice. Too often the terrain and fast changing weather catches people out in NZ, they panic and make crappy decisions.

    I’m now going to unload some unsolicited advice on tramping and backpacking in NZ yaaaay grab out your notebook!

    “Drinking water” 99.99% safe to drink from streams except obviously if it’s flooded or murky, in suburban areas or down stream from a dairy farm yuuuuck. Choose a slow moving section of stream, the sediment and pathogens sink to the bottom rather than being kicked up in the rapids. On the Humpridge Track the streams are stained brown from the tannin in the tree leaves which is deceptive. You will see DOC signs telling you to boil water, they are just covering their backsides, NZ’ers always drink it straight – knowing there is only a verrrrrry slim chance of getting sick.

    “DOC” (Department of Conservation) government organisation charged with looking after our nice National Parks, they take care of our native birds and critters, trap and poison pest species such as stoats & possums (sometimes controversial) etc etc, they also build and maintain almost all walking tracks and back country huts and low cost campsites in NZ. Their website and local visitors centres are the place to go for info about tramping don’t get too hung up on the “Great Walks” they are spectacular and facilities are above average but they are also highly publicised and therefore expensive. Remember they only make up a handful of the thousands of tracks we have here.

    “i-Site” official information centres that give advice and do bookings for activities and accomodation, independent of the tourism operators – that’s the biggie.

    “Bookme” while in NZ book tourist things online with discounts, cheaper than i-Sites but you have to do your own research

    “CamperMate” phone app, gives you the location of campsites, public toilets, interest points etc

    “NZ Topo50” phone apps download real topographical maps offline…. only good if your phone has battery…

    I’m sure you will attempt your next “hike” soon, perhaps just a day trip to test the waters after your recent er… ordeal/adventure? Travel as light as possible, but ALWAYS take spare thermals/raincoat/torch, plenty of water if there won’t be streams. Don’t count on there being phone reception, fill in hut books as you pass back country huts, and tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back by, if you’re overdue they can raise the alarm. Perhaps ask your accomodation to record you intentions, they might even store your excess gear for a small fee. If they won’t do it, heck even email me! Better still carry a PLB.

    I hope your first taste of NZ hasn’t been too rough. The people of the Deep South don’t get much contact haha, I hope they were hospitable enough!

    All the best for you and Igors travels, don’t loose hope!
    I’ll be following your blog to see where you end up. You have my email if you need anything and I’m kat.slade on instagram 😀

  3. Kevin…as usual, you’re experience is riveting! I get so caught up in your adventures, and cannot believe your fortitude at times. You have great faith and I know that God is watching over you!

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