Strange to wake up in the midst of a punga forest.

My memories of such experiences as a child were not so great, large hairy spiders and the odd weta, but these days I’m made of tough stuff.

For some reason the offer of a paid place to stay at the camping ground was not so enticing, I just saw those Jucy camper vans around at Pelorus Bridge that had me hustling on.

The patch of forest on the other side of the river seemed more my style at the tail end of this trip, but there was one serious problem, ain’t no water. Actually there was, 400m on over a few paddocks was a trickle of water in an almost dried watercourse, boiling required, for dinner requirements.

I decided to do what most other trail walkers do in the morning in the Breakfast Department, a muesli bar. No coffee, so no surprise that I was somewhat grumpy.

The first couple of hours were spent cutting through paddocks on the Dalton Track, this was the backdrop to the scene where Matteo had his near altercation with the farmer. It’s remarkable that you are required to traipse through ploughed paddocks, rather than down the farm road but it’s only a two hour experience.

It was probably El Presidente who was in the 4WD that cruised past at walking pace for ten minutes as I staggered over the cattle pockmarks, not so comfortable in those rigid alpine boots.

Then it was over and I was out on a country road, asphalt to start, and that’s uncomfortable, then onto gravel and that’s probably worse in its unevenness.

To tell the truth this was a hard day. The last three days have just been going for it, more than 70km with immense ups and downs on not so easy tracks.

Today I felt it, the zing has gone. I guess it’s not helped by my failure to carry any water, man I was thirsty, but this is all dairy country and they are chopping trees all along where I’m walking, up the hill, hence no drinkable water and the Pelorus is tidal at this point.

Maybe I’m getting over it all, can’t wait to finish now and have proper food on a more regular basis.

3km or so to go and I crossed the Pelorus over two long bridges and finally made it out onto the highway. I try hitching for a while rather than walking along the edge of the busy highway but those cars come in bunches, often behind a truck, I might as well leg it.

Then things look up, there is an apple tree on the side of the road, not easily accessible but I have a long reach and I pluck out a perfect tree ripened, crisp apple.

See, that’s all it takes, all is right with the world.

There’s now an almost complete cessation of traffic, it’s past 2pm, the Cricket World Cup semi-final has started, the nation is focused on something else.

Havelock. Easy.

The supermarket is open, but deserted, and I load up on my last tranche of food for this glorious adventure.

Tomorrow night I should be out on the Queen Charlotte Track on the final sprint for the finishing line.

Yes, I’m losing interest in walking but it’s only a few days to go to Ships Cove and the weather forecast ain’t so bad.

I even might perk up after a good scoff and night’s sleep.

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