This is really stupid, but I couldn’t be happier. It’s sunset, and I’m walking in the middle of the road. There’s no traffic, it’s too remote for traffic. I haven’t seen a single car for over an hour. I remind myself that in the south island there’s way more sheep than people. All around me are fields, the occasional stand of trees and beyond them mountains.
I pass a road sign. Cliften in 30km away. That’s half of the stupid part. The other half of the stupid part is that I have to be there for 7.30 in the morning to meet the boat to start the Dusky track. If I miss that then the two Frenchie’s I’d met earlier don’t get to share my emergency beacon, and then if they die it’d be my fault. So not making it’s not an option.
The happy part is just walking through the middle of nowhere. It’s exactly what I’d imagined when I’d been back in blighty: watching the sun wane over the valley with just a bag on my back, evolving colours in the fields, a light breeze in my face and the only sounds coming from my souls treading down an endless road. This is it. YES. I should be looking for a place to camp before night comes, but life feels so much better whenever I push on so I just keep walking.
I am fuelled by the moment and get myself ready to walk through the dark. Not exactly the rest day I’d imagined before starting the Dusky, but screw it, I love all this.
An hour later the sun hits the deck and the vista dims… now I am left with only the stupid part. But then I hear a car miles away, it’ll be the last I see today. I whip out the high-viz jacket from Freedom and stick out my thumb.
The car flies by at 100 kilometers an hour. Oh well. Night walk it is then. I watch the car disappear…
…and then at the last minute I see its brake lights! The car comes to a stop a few hundred meters ahead. I imagine the conversation up front. Will it? Will it? Then a white reverse light… Woohoo!