Blue sky, wind, and being about 800m in elevation means it feels cool.

I’m feeling okay, a reasonable day today, getting across the Rangatata, which proved not much of an issue, all the braid crossings I chose, about nine of them, were below my kneecaps and while the flow was swift, the water was clear, the rocks not slippery and that first 12km to the Potts River bridge on the north side, the official start of the trail again, taking less than three hours.

The Te Araroa trail authorities have decided to stop measuring the trail on each side of the Rangatata and Rakaia Rivers and encourage people to hitch, or otherwise make their way around to the other side, so the track has shrunk in official length to just under 3000 km this year. This means people can say they walked it all even if they zip around by other transportation than feet. They justify this by saying it’s like Cook Strait, a natural barrier, and, I guess, aren’t too keen to have drownings to publicise the walk.

I was wondering about hitchhiking on deserted back country roads but while I was eating lunch at the Potts Bridge car park, not a bad campsite actually, four vehicles turned up, I could have asked for a lift but two had four tourists in them, how they came to be there who can tell, not sure if the hire companies would approve.

Bizarre for car doors to open and music blaring, four girls jumped out for photo time with their iphones, and shortly thereafter a similar car drew alongside this time with four guys, different loud music, similar phone antics.

Later I find there is an obvious explanation for the crowds out here, I mean, that is a bus up there, and it’s called Lord of the Rings, some aspect was shot nearby. Amazing the ongoing economic activity brought about by that bit of culture.

I almost asked the drivers for some food, I’ve become ravenous and am not sure if I will have to ration the food, I’m thinking another five nights until I hitch to Greymouth.

There’s a huge backdrop to the Rangatata, that Two Thumb Range and plenty of others, but I was soon pointing in the other direction, heading north once again.

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