Today was the first time I really connected with other hikers on this trip, and from what I learned on the PCT, that’s what makes a thru-hike what it is. You can’t appreciate the pain and suffering until you laugh about it with someone else who’s just suffered the exact same mental and physical pain as you. I realise it’s only Day 5 and I’m complaining as if I’ve been out here for months with 1000 miles under my belt, but I tell you, that beach was something else, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain upon anyone.
After finishing my post this morning I sat up and inspected my blisters and immediately got out the needle. After yellow goo started oozing out I decided to rest up for the morning and see how I felt by the afternoon, and after tucking into a great book – ‘A life in stitches’ by Rachael Herron with my feet up on the couch, I decided if I’m going to spend a day off trail, this place is not a bad one to be in.
One of the hikers I met today was an amazing German woman named Katrin, who after studying biology and getting 3 years into her PHD decided to quit academia and now does energy healing and bee keeping on the South Island of NZ. Her pack is the size of Pac Man’s on the PCT and must weigh about 80 pounds. She’s got a full size camera tripod strapped to the outside and has a CPR mask in her first aid kit. She also carries Hydrogen Peroxide drops (food grade strength) that she gave me to put on my blisters to stop any infection. It literally bubbled on my foot so we’ll see what my blister looks like tomorrow.
Later in the afternoon the gang I’ve been bumping into along the beach arrived. There’s Alex from Germany, Shannon from the States and Bevan from Bay of Islands in NZ. They’re an awesome crew and all have their unique qualities. Shannon has an ultralight pack but bought a packet of carrots, two full onions and three packets of spinach for the next leg. Alex eats like me, noodles and potato chips, and when asked if he’s hiking the whole trail always says ‘I’m trying to’ instead of yes. And Bevan is a happy go lucky Kiwi that seems to just go with the flow. I think only Alex may leave tomorrow and since I’m off early I wonder when I’ll see the others next. That’s the fun part about thru-hiking, you might see them tomorrow, in a week, or in 3 months time! You just never know!
I need to grab some supplies as I head out of town tomorrow for the next 120km stretch. I’ve been told you can’t camp in the forest, and when I asked where you can camp the answer was nowhere. I’m taking this trail as it comes, not planning too far ahead and going with whatever comes up as it does. We’ll see if this tactic serves me well or not!
Goodnight from the Ahipara Holiday Park!