The night had been fine and still. Perfect for a night in the tent.
We had a whole lot of what we're calling soft food to use up before we headed for the hills again.
Vogels, margarine, peanut butter and half a jar of vegemite. The camp kitchen even had a toaster. I valiantly tried my best but ended up having to leave the rest with Anna who had some organising to do in town before she headed out again.
She's running the trail to promote Outward Bound. Because she's running she's obviously a lot faster than us. But she's also taking time to go and talk to kids about what she's up to.
Which is why we just can't seem to shake her.
She uses her talks to introduce them to the finer things that adventures like TeA can bring to one's life. Things like going to the toilet outside, dead toenails and eating what Anna calls party food all the time.
To keep herself up and running Anna eats lots of chocolate and lollies. This seems to work for her but makes anyone staying in a hut with her extremely jealous.
I really should give you her blog address...but I can't remember it and she hasn't caught us up again...yet. Anyway, if you're curious it's probably pretty easy to Google Anna McNuff does Te Araroa or some such thing.
If you have some kids who need to be inspired AND entertained...Anna's your lady. She's just booked herself in for an assembly of 400 wide-eyed innocents in Christchurch.
As far as we can tell she'll be running to Christchurch then back out to the trail again afterwards.
We didn't really bother saying good bye this time and made our way around the lake towards the base of the next day's climb.
As we left Tekapo township a woman came up to us.
"You look like a couple of real trampers." She then told us what we planned to do.
We would be walking up and over the pass beside tge Two Thumbs Range and down through the old Mesopotamia Station to the existing Mesopotamia Station.
She asked us how we were going to cross the Rangitata River.
This was weird. How did she know so much?
Her name was Christine. Until recently she ran Erewon Station, but eventually the day to day running of it had been too much for her.
She'd recently retired and was now touring the country in a campervan...with the biggest grin on her face. She seemed to be having the time of her life.
"I loved having you lot come through the Station. I'd feed you all up on eggs and sausages from the farm."
Erewon Station sits across the Rangitata River from Mesopotamia Station, where we are planning to stay before getting a chopper ride over the river.
It would have been great to stop off at Erewon on our way through. Christine would have been the perfect host.
Peter and Andrew, who we first met in Hawea, were sitting on a bench contemplating a visit to town as we walked by. They'd been tenting just out of Tekapo and would be following us the next day.
They will catch us up again for sure.
We're going to take the next few sections slowly as we're running ahead of schedule. We've also realised that we're on holiday and should relax a bit.
TeA can easily become a bit of a performance trial for people and we're finding it really easy to get swept up in the measurement game.
How fast? How far? How much does it weigh?
We're about to try "How slow?".
Around the lake we dawdled...
Well...actually we pounded it out. Or as Anna would say "We smashed it!"
Again it was just too hot to be in the sun and the 15 kilometre gravel road walk was going to be tough so we figured the sooner we could got to a beach with our tent the better. We would relax then.
Just before we came to our road end we met Katrin and Thore. Two German Sobos who I'm nominating for this year's Best Dressed TeA Couple Award.
Not only did their completely black ensemble look astonishingly classy amongst the dull trekker chic we're used to...but they deserve special mention for the tough physical demands of their attire. Black! In a MacKenzie Country drought! Outstanding.
The bay we picked for our camp sight was almost perfect. Just off the road, it featured an actual tree and small rounded pebbles on its beach.
I said almost perfect. Someone had ruined the ambience by pooing under the tree...it wasn't a recent crime so didn't smell TOO much...but...
As we made coffee in the slowly cooling day, a skink came out from under the circle of rocks, that formed the fireplace we sat by. There were no other rocks for it to run to so it just hung around.
It watched us as we boiled the water and stewed our ground beans. It was good to have the company.
That night in the tent we could see across the lake to the Mount John Observatory. It sits below New Zealand's Night Sky National Park. It costs about $140 to go up and check it out and is so popular you have to book ahead.
As I wandered through the grass for my regular midnight pee I looked up at the Milky Way...yep...they're right. You sure can see a long way out here in the dark.