Three nights solid eating and talking and all the rest of the boy meets girl thing, has given more spring in my step despite once again having my pack loaded with ten days of ballast, ie, food.

I’ve learned from the Greymouth resupply where I started to get down to the basics with still four days to go, then finding my food parcel waiting at Boyle River was similarly austere. When arriving at St Arnaud I was emaciated and physically exhausted, fortunately my understanding and pre-warned gal had loaded up with tasty and nutritious tucker in large quantities, sufficient to satiate my ravenous urgings.

The sensible shoes choice to abandon my walk here and return in a week or two is not somehow any option. I have the clear characteristics of tenacity, perseverance, pigheadedness and for once in my life the destination, Ships Cove, is important, to rule a line under an era in my life as I move onto what transformation will come next. Anyway, it’s now back to TA.

Last night, right on dark, a solo SOBO arrived at the hut and my ruminating on the last weekend was postponed.

Matteo had arranged to walk the next section, Waiau Pass, with a SOBO of the female persuasion who was ahead, they have been communicating with text messages, he’s scurrying to catch up, a 14 hour day today.

He tells some hilarious stories, as background a tale of going through a paddock with 40 Waikato bulls, they start pawing the ground and looking threatening, Matteo quickly climbed a tree for a few hours, then escaped by running at some pace down a creek, maybe an electric fence was involved.

Then, a few days ago, trying to avoid what must be cows in the Pelorus valley, at that point where there’s a sign at each of the ten fence crossings to not venture onto the nearby farm road, he avoids the cattle by doing exactly that, and rather than a confrontation with bulls, this time it’s a huge fist clenching farming bloke, not similarly stamping his feet, exactly, but after ten minutes of threatening language he then proceeds proceeded to slowly circle this lovely bewildered guy, not saying a word for five minutes.

Apologies and what seems to be sensible de-escalating behaviour from Matteo. The farmer says, You’re lucky, today I’ve got my two kids in the car, and then crazy eyes cruises off in his 4WD, exceedingly slowly.

I reassured him that it was indeed super unusual that New Zealanders set up their own little Republic with themselves as El Presidente and defending the borders with themselves as Commander-in-Chief of a one man army. No doubt he refuses to support the All Blacks, preferring his own one-man rugby team, etc.

Man, get with the program. You should read what people write about you, on the Te Araroa Facebook page, in their blogs, and it’s not entirely complimentary.

Now, there’s not so many huts to go, and there’s no company tonight, I’m going to miss meeting these positive thoughtful people.

Then again, in my new life I’m actually going to be able to have long-term relationships, something entirely more necessary for this doughnut.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Hunters Hut

Hunters Hut, Alpine Route, Mt Richmond Forest Park
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