But I'm sure it'll all come flooding back shortly.
[Wanders round a bit. Asks Whiona for her notes]
We left Graeme packing his gear at the hut on Monday morning. The day was grey with a bit of a breeze as we headed up our first proper tramping path. I'd walk up a steep bush track over a flat roadside any day. It's nice to be using our hearts and lungs for once.
We were soon on "the tops" and out onto boggy alpine country. It was a long and pretty flat trek over tussock, moss and through flax and small turpentine bushes.
This far south "the tops" are only at about 700 metres. The wind whipped up and we were soon cold.
The track was new and/or hardly used so it was often hard to find the trail although the markers were well spaced. It would've been tricky in whiteout.
The alpine section was over all too soon, but was followed by a walk through some classic goblin forest. It was slightly different to the dense and often dark Tararua Goblin Forest - the moss didn't grow as thickly on the tree trunks, but the ground was carpeted in the almost-fluoro green stuff. Again because the track is hardly used, it was soft under foot. Like 70s shagpile.
We got to a water-and-rest stop at what looked like an old quarry. We had a feed of cheap but good Fijian water crackers, marmite and cheese. I tried to ignore my toes.
The 4k walk up to the transmitter tower was fast and on blazing-white limestone road. Whiona listening to her music while I saved battery power. But I still got some tunes. Her and Cat Stevens sang together.
The First Cut is the Deepest.
At the top we rested in a doorway by a sign listing the hazards of the work place. Diesel. It seems like the cell phone tower is off grid, which is why it smelled like a train station and sounded like an airport up there.
All so I could write my blog. Thanks Chorus...our whoever owns this stuff now.
We were soon off on the last stretch of the day. Still Goblin Forest, but an even more bright and bouncy kind.
The Titipounamu (Riflemen) were out in force. I'm was soon on my hands and knees...arse up in the air photographing what could've been miniature orchids and violets. Whiona was taking a photo of me doing this (haha) when Markus walked round the corner.
He was a tall, young German. His eyes were bright and his smile gleaming. He was nearly at the end of his southern trek and it was obvious he was loving it.
He had started at Ship Cove on the 2nd of November and walked an average of 16ks a day.
He'd been trekking for two years when we met him and included Iceland on his list of conquests.
He gave us a print-out of a TeA map with detailed notes from someone called Nathan. Could this be our fav TeA blogger Nathan Denmark? Gasp! Whether it was our not - thanks Nathan. They were just what we needed. We promised to pass em on.
It's not long before we were making camp at 4pm. It had been an 8 hour day - a bit faster than we'd expected.
We'd hoped to go further but my toes felt otherworldly.
Whiona works in a hospital. Her job is varied, but does involve a bit of gristle, broken bones and blood. An afternoon in surgery with a smashed and splayed-open leg, laid out on an operating table in front of her isn't uncommon. She is not in the least bit squeamish.
Me on the other hand? She isn't allowed to talk about her work when I'm driving (and for ethical reasons of course) because I might faint. I can't watch Embarrassing Bodies - not because I'm embarrassed. But because I might bring up my tea.
So when it came time for me to remove my socks and expose my toes she got the good job.
Out with the scissors. There was no spurting blood, but plenty of that clear stuff flowing freely from my worryingly swollen little toes. Not a Monty Python amount of spurting, but possibly enough to make a cup of tea with. Well that's what it felt like...
I was soon strapped up. Tea and tent followed. Graeme joined us and we spent a night at the north of of the never-ending forest. Looooongwood.