Abel Tasman:
Take Two...
Nice little stream.
January 21, 2006

Sometimes it is clear that my brain capacity isn’t at its fullest when it comes time to making decisions.

Let’s take today, for example…

I had a spare day before catching the ferry so I opted to go to Abel Tasman. After being in a car for what seems like ages
(considering I drove seven hours yesterday and an additional seven hours the day before), I thought it would be nice to use my
legs for purposes other than braking and accelerating and walk for a little while. Plus I was hoping that this trip to Abel Tasman
would give me better weather than about two weeks ago when I was there with Jim and Kat.

I spent the night in Murchison and headed out around 7:30am so that I could get to Abel Tasman early enough to not feel rushed.
I arrived around 9:30am.

I bought myself a one-way water taxi ride to an area that we didn’t hike last time. I didn’t have any intentions of walking all the
way back to the entrance of the park. I just didn’t feel like committing to a time and place to be picked up from. I knew that I
could hop on any water taxi that came around and just pay on-site.

The weather wasn’t looking very promising. I still don’t know who decided that this was the sunniest part of New Zealand. I don’t
buy it. But at least it wasn’t raining like last time. I would gladly take the clouds over that.

I walked the first portion which was 2½ hours long. I decided to do the second portion which was another hour or so. Now it was
time to make a decision: Spend $22 and get a water taxi or save the money and walk the rest. Going the cheapskate route would
also let me take advantage of the fact that the clouds were breaking and blue skies were ahead. I decided to go ahead and do it. It
couldn’t be
that much further, right? If I was thinking, I would have pulled out the map that was in my backpack. But I clearly
wasn’t thinking. About 30 minutes into this section of the walk, I saw a sign letting me know that I just committed to an extra
three hours of walking. I really saw that I only had one option: Keep going.

With about 1½ hours to go, the soles of my feet were hurting. I don’t think hikes like this are meant to be done in fake Diesel
shoes bought in Vietnam – but that is all I currently I have. I just kept telling myself that I could do it. The bonus right now was
that the sky was blue which made the water blue. At least I had beautiful scenery during my time of agony.

I finally completed the walk only to find out that my car was still another kilometer away. Ughhh.

A kind Kiwi stopped and picked me up about .2 kilometers from my car and drove me the rest of the way. It might not sound like
much but it was. Trust me. Each step I took was a struggle.

I pulled out my map when I got back to my car. After adding up the three segments that I walked, I calculated that I had just
hiked over 25 kilometers (about 15 miles) over the past six hours. Did I forget somewhere along the line that I was just intending
to have a nice leisurely walk???

I know for many hikes like this make them feel exhilarated afterwards. I don’t know if it’s because of the physical activity or
because of the sense of accomplishment. All I knew was that I was not feeling any of it. The only things I felt were pain and
exhaustion. I don’t understand people who
loooooove hiking. Yes, it was pretty. But now my body was about to crumble. The
only thing I felt the need for was to lay down and do absolutely nothing.

But it was time to hit the road and head to Picton since I have to check-in at 7:00am tomorrow for my ferry. I went inside the
little shop to ask about how long it would take to get there. I had to ask her to repeat her answer because I was in shock. It
turned out that I didn’t misunderstand her – she
did say three hours.

All my body wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep. That clearly would have to wait for at least three hours. I had no option. I
couldn’t even drive half-way with my ferry being so early.

This is one of those days that it would have paid off dearly to have somebody with me. Just somebody to say ‘You are bloody
mad’ when I would initially tell them what I thought could be done. They could have pointed out to me just how much further I
still had to drive after the hike was over. They could have said ‘We are definitely taking the water taxi back.’ Sadly, I did not have
such resources.

In the end, I drove about four hundred kilometers today and hiked another twenty-five. I have just checked into my backpackers
place for the night. It is time for me to drop.

January 22, 2007

Ughhhh. I had snorers in my room. I thought the chances of this were slim since I opted to spend a few more dollars by staying in
a 4-person room. It turns out I also left my earplugs at the last place so I had no noise barrier. I ended up going into the main
room and sleeping on a couch. So much for getting a nice, much-needed sleep last night…
Back to New Zealand.
During low-tide at the end of the day.
On the swing bridge.