Day 18. Thigh and Quad Killer

2:43 Pm

Rise and shine!

Ill start by talking about how cold it was in a loosely built hut at the top of a mountain.. After finished blogging and the candles went out, I made my way to my sleeping bag and awkwardly crawled in and closed the top of the bag. I laid there for a bit thinking how cold it was… There was no way I was going to be able to sleep like this. I opened the sleeping bag back up and fumbled around to find my dry sack which had my clothes in it. I pulled out 2 more pairs of socks and a long sleeved shirt and a very Canadian neck warmer / hat / it has 10 different ways to wear it. I had to take off layers to add layers. BRRRRRR. I put on all three pairs of socks and only found one sock of the 4th pair. (I brought 4 pairs of socks as I planned on wearing 2 socks on each foot a day) I put them allll one but found one that didnt have a partner. My feet were still frozen. I had this one sock in my hand and it was like trying to decide which son I liked better. Kind of funny but I knew one foot would be warmer than the other. Left foot. Done. Sorry righty, tonight isn’t your night. I checked the little plastic MEC thermometer on my backpack. About 39 degrees! The ONLY thing this hut did was block wind. The only thing. I had all my clothes on but my swimsuit and my other pair of boxers. I had drifted off so many times only to wake back up again because of my cold toes. It was a tough night.

I hear people rustling around in the morning and turn on my phone to see its about 8:30am. Sigh. Why do all the better backpackers need to get up and leave so early. Lol. I just laid there for a while but the thought of getting down the mountain and how far I had to go kept eating at me. FINE. Ill get up. I boiled some more water and made some horrible instant coffee. Not my first time, I just knew it would get my body all pepped for the day and the fluids runnin before I needed to get runnin. I had half a bag of scroggin left, 4 pouches of instant noodle soup, and the other half to my just add water chicken and rice. The last of the food I had bought in Toronto. I had a little less than half a tank of gas left. Boiling water and making food with it would kill it much faster I thought later. I saw couples using their water filters for the water…whyyyy did I use gas to boil the water..? Stuff was getting kind of low, but enough food to last me to the bottom or an extra day if needed. Plus, I see people everyday so if it came to it I would just ask them for food. IF ALL ELSE FAILED and I hurt something broke whatever, I can SOS my personal locator beacon. (I don’t know why I just went on that side story of what I had left or the what ifs. I don’t do those)

I slowly ate my cold scroggin while I watched the other 2 couples making these fancy hot oatmeal’s with apples n such. Maybe I could be like them one day and actually bring real food to make? I slowly ate as I watched one of the girls (Natalie?) bandage her 4 blisters. I’m always interested to see how other backpackers do it. (Pack, manage food, blisters, clothing, water) I need to learn how to fly on the way down remember? Barely got the hang of this stuff. Just out to show that if you want to do it….like really…you can! Just takes a huge step of faith. Both couples were very nice and chatted with me about the cold night and about the day ahead. I was kind of waiting for them to leave just so I could occupy the dinner table with all my junk.

Took a tiny picture of me in a shattered mirror that was by the door:

Allllll byyyy mysellfffff…. 🎶🎵

I boiled another 500ml of water which brought my total water for the day to 1.5 liters. Should be fine to go down a giant hill.

The table and the back wall it seemed many people wrote on.

This hut is so small (height wise) I’ve hit my head numerous times! Another thing that isn’t fun for hikers, the outhouse was down a hill from the hut. Guess at least we have one.

Crammed all my gear into my backpack and headed out. (Here comes my TMI) I didn’t think I needed to put sunscreen on as I had smothered it on the last few days. Maybe it was fine and still working? Today was my 3rd day without a shower. 😝 oddly I didn’t stink (I didn’t think so?) I had deodorant though. Not an Igor moment.

Down down down. Gripping my trekking poles tight I felt good. Someone’s in the middle of the day, I don’t even really feel my backpack on at all. Placing each foot carefully on the loose rocks and gravel. I choose my path but the Lord directs my steps.

I need to go way down then up the next huge hill. All the same terrain.

I reach the bottom of that little valley in the picture and take my pack off. I eat another handful of scroggin and take off my jacket. It was really cold and windy at the hut, I was starting to sweat now. This isn’t going to be fun.

I’ve been listening to the same book, “Mere Christianity” as I tramp along. I would like listen a few times to cement it into my soul.

I start heading up the steep incline and have to stop twice before even getting to the first turn. I look right..

It’s hard to complain when you have views like that..

I reach the first curve. I think I feel my arm skin sizzling.. sigh. Take off my backpack again get out the sunscreen. Take a few gulps of water and get on with it. More zig zags as I wind my way to the top.

Got a lovely diagram for you:

Just to get idea of distances.

I had to go downhill then up another smaller hill. Seems like I’m tramping along the ridge of this sucker. I find myself faced with a gate that says no public access. 🤔🤔

I turn back around and see a small sign that says “stay left of the fence but follow the orange markers”. It has two steps up to get over a different fence then two steps on the other side. Oook. So now I guess I just follow this fence line forever. Walk walk walk (my version of a time lapse)

This trail really takes you through some sketchy areas. Like this picture, loose gravel then a steep drop off.

Go out to the peak out there then round another corner always on one side of the fence. I think I see a faint trail of people who just hop the fence to take a straight shot across…nahh I’ll take the proper way and enjoy more views.

Down up and along. Through tall grass and bushes.

I go up and another hill.. and I’m wondering how I’m supposed to get down from up there. I never saw a nice easy slant going downhill from over here.

I walk closer to the edge… I can’t see it go down at all? Just a drop off. I get up right on the edge..

See those little metal posts in the ground? I know it doesn’t look that steep but this is basically 1000 meters semi hilly to the bottom. I think the only person that knows how far that is (except for the people I’ve met here) is Igor. I make my way down, thinking it’s easier to hold onto each post as I pass and kind of step and catch myself with the following one. For at least an hour or two. I realized today I have a bruise on that hand where I was grabbing each post. I get what I think is a decent ways down and decide I should stop and eat lunch. I went away from the posts a bit, found a nice bushy place to sit down and ate the rest of my chicken and rice.

I think I sat / layers there for about 30 minutes. I was kind of hidden as I heard two girls talking and laughing as they headed down the same path. I made sure I was visible to them and said hello. Talked a bit and they said they were just doing a day hike.. A. Day. Hike. They started where I started but just didn’t go up to the hut where I left. So in my two days they covered in a matter of 7-8 hours. Course they weren’t carrying much either.. said good luck and they continued on.

Decided I should get down from here now and as threw my pack on another German fellow cane walking down. Talked for a bit, his name was Linus. He said he had been tramping around for 6 months now. Wow, me and my measly double digit days. He said he had spent his last two days doing a larger peak (as I broke off onto the downhill to the stream, he kept going up to a different mountain) and his thighs and knees were killing him. A lot to do in two days!

I decide that it’s nice to have company on the way down and keep up with him. He’s carrying a pretty good pace and doesn’t have trekking poles. A liiitle faster pace than I would go, but I challenge myself to keep up anyway.

Down down down.

At this point my thighs are quivering.. this is like doing a leg press 1000x with my body and backpack weight. I tell him I’m going to have a quick water break and he agrees. He occasionally rubs the tops of his knees and his thighs. You can tell he is in pain too but just doesn’t show it much. We continue on. Hill after hill going down.

Pause. Sheep!

There are also huge piles of horse poo on the trail. The very beginning of this whole trail it says to stay out of the way or horses. I wish I had a horse to take me down this hill.

I keep repeating as I can now feel my legs don’t want to support me anymore..”Fueled by faith, not by food and water alone. Fueled by faith and not by food and water alone.” I continue on. Each step seems to get more wobbly and sometimes I feel my legs turning to jello. Don’t quit! Push it!!

This of course is going on inside me and Linus has no idea. We don’t talk much on the way down, I have now considered his pace my pace. I just try to keep up. I enjoy when he stops for 5 seconds to rub his legs letting me at least know this isn’t super easy either.

We FINALLY make it to what seems to be the bottom of the biggest hill and we can now at least walk on flat ground for a while..

All those bushes are the one inch spiked bushes, fortunately they are no match for our expensive, quick drying pants. Meandering a long way I think I start to feel my legs getting a LITTLE more sturdy. This was purely a battle of my mind over my body. Some instances I had it.. I walked upright and took strong steady strides.. the next minute my legs were flopping and sliding around underneath me. I now also felt like I had blisters on the tops of my toes seeing that I was basically constantly stopping my forward momentum with my feet and thighs. Sometimes there was tall brush taller than we were that we had to get through. He just put his arms in front of his face and without losing a stride plowed through. I lifted my poles in front of me and plowed through just not as elegantly as he did.

My body had moments of rejoicing when there was flat grassland to walk through.

I would think it was over to only have to go down further. My body trembled going down hills now. Even though he didn’t stop for water anymore, I kind of realized I could continue walking and grab my bottle mid pace and take a drink. This was the hardest leg workout I have ever had! I couldn’t quit because there’s only one way. Down. I think I was relying more and more on my poles for balance.

I keep calling the road a mirage.. I think it’s right around the corner but isn’t.

I THINK I CAN SEE IT!

😅😅😂😭

We come to the final gate and he easily drops his pack off to get his water. I realize if I take this thing off, ill never get it back on. So I just rest it on top of the sign. He looks at his phone, “Made it an hour faster than I predicated” lol. I told him I always add an hour or two onto what it predicts and he said he always takes an hour off. Ha heh…sigh. I guess I kept up with a veteran then..? Tooting my own horn.

One last muddy hill in which I come super close to falling down.

WE MADE IT! We cheer. We talked about what’s next. He is heading to the left to go back to his car and I’m heading right to try and get back to that campground. It’s still like a 2 mile walk to get back… I hand him a card and quickly explain my story and we head out.

That last two miles I felt like I could have collapsed. 😅😅 I knew I wouldn’t though..

I keep my pack on as I walk into the hut to hoping see if they have a spot for me. Guy asks if I want to take my pack off because it looks heavy but they do. He said it would be filling up fast so I came at a good time. 🙏🏼

LOL I almost.. tear up. I drop my bulky pack off in a thump. Pay him $20 and he points out my site. One last time I need to it this thing on today.. staggering to my site I just plop down. I think I just sat there for 15 minutes. There’s a girl that is trying to put up her tent beside me and asked if she can have a hand. Lol.. yep. Her name is Scarlet.

Just needed help pounding her stakes into the ground. I just use a big rock and realize how crappy the ground is beneath us. Like an inch of dirt then gravel? Her pegs are way too long and she says this is the first time putting up this tent. She is bending her pegs. It’s ok.. in pounding I broke me in half and said it wasn’t supposed to be that long anyway.

I get back and start to unpack my backpack. I’m pretty hungry and thirsty. I first grab a handful of scroggin and drink the last of my water. Just a boost to get my tent up. It’s soo windy! I have issues laying down the tarp and putting the tent on top. Like Scarlet my ground sucks also.

I finally get it setup and I keep thinking the wind is going to rip up the pegs. It already did one of them. I put large rocks on the stakes. That’ll do.

I lay down in my tent.. lifting and lowering my knees is a lot of pain. Taking off my boots was a piece of heaven.

I am contemplating taking a shower first or walking down to the restaurant to get a solid meal. I have white salt remnants on my shirt from where I have sweat so much there are salt lines on it.

(Before having a coma in my tent)

I had some more scroggin and planned to have a shower first.I stepped out of my tent and hadn’t realized another guy was setting up his tent in lot 4. Adam is his name. He can tell by the way I’m getting up and asks if I’ve had a long day. Oh yea..I pointed to the top of that mountain..I just came from there.. shower. Now.

The shower is $2 for 7 minutes. A hot shower. You better believe I put in that second $2 coin. A second slice of heaven.

I needed to do my laundry but it was getting kind of late..? I asked both Scarlet and Adam if they wanted to come with me to get a ‘real’ meal at restaurant 5 min down the road. Scarlet freaks out for a moment and says she just ate a horrid meal and Adam decided he will come for a night cap. A little while later after washing half my clothes I tell them I’m heading out. Adam comes with me Scarlet says she will stay. We go to this restaurant and it’s 10pm. I called earlier, they said the restaurant was closed but the bar is still open. They have bar food. Good enough. Walk around the corner and at least the lights are on, I think. We head inside… the place is packed!! It seems the entire town is in there. Me with my shorts on and long Johns coming out from under them go up and order a beer and some chicken tenders. Adams as surprised as I am orders a drink and food too. You know.. I’m not really a fan of beer… but that first and all of the gulps are my 3rd slice of heaven.

We chat and he is ‘holiday’ (vacation) from the UK. He is taking some one off after he got his bachelors in Biology. He is going to spend a good amount of time here and has all his hikes planned out. He plans on going back to get his masters. I show him the breakfast menu and he totally agrees before he leaves in the morning that me must go there for breakfast. I agree.

We make our way back to the campground and I grab my dry laundry then pass out in my tent tent without turning my phone on airplane mode. Ah well.

It’s supposed to rain all day today and be super windy.. and it has lived up to its expectations. We had our big breakfast and I wished him well.

I return to my rent and TRY and take a nap. Impossible. The wind is blowing SO hard it’s whipping my little tent walls inward and the winds outside are incredibly loud.

Me realizing I can’t get back to sleep:

I then head to the kitchen to begin this long blogging process.

I might spend two days here to recoup then I think I’ll head to Wanaka, a few hours drive from here. I’ll probably hitchhike? I need to get some real groceries for food, another small tube of toothpaste and another gas canister. It was really windy and spitting rain all morning. Now that I’m sitting in the kitchen area.. it’s pouring. Everyone around me is speaking German. I ran out of data this morning..no texting no communication. I get a few texts saying how low my data was getting then it said I had used 100% and to click a link to refill it. Of course the link uses internet so I couldn’t. Good call spark! I didn’t think I would run through 8 gb in a month! Great $15 for 1gb. I purchase that.. all this social media I ripped right through it. I purchased a significant amount more. I only have like 3-4 days till my second 8 fb kicks in.. sigh. I WILL be using these free WiFi slips now! Even though it’s 30MB at a time..

Thoughts:

As C.S. Lewis would say, “You never know what you’re capable of till you HAVE to do it. ”

(My thighs are super sensitive to the touch)

Do you notice that I never make plans and things work out?

Also interesting that the big rain storms happen while I’m at a campground.

To end this extensive daily blog, I’ll leave you with this. It was a writing on the Macintosh hut wall:

6:37pm!

2 Comments on “Day 18. Thigh and Quad Killer

  1. Damn that was a hard way down! If I had any idea of what you are going through I would have slowed down a bit. Sorry for that šŸ™‚ It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and share the pain šŸ˜€
    “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”

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