Day 149 (Sat 17 April): Pelorus bridge to Havelock
Started 8.20am, finished 2.05pm, 21k.
Pain in the head status: I woke in the night with a migraine, which turned out to be the most troublesome one I’ve had for a while, needing a second migraine tablet to knock it back and recurring again later in the day. It’s as unexplained and random as usual.
Word of the day: Analeptic, a restorative medicine.
Sadly, the cafe at Pelorus bridge didn’t open until 9am on the weekend so we missed out on a post-breakfast treat. We crossed back over the bridge, looking down to the Pelorus river and trying to remember the barrel scene from The Hobbit that was filmed here.
After a short walk through a lovely piece of mixed podocarp forest that had escaped being milled by European settlers, we ended up on a special track, the Dalton track, created especially for TA walkers, to keep us away from the highway. It involved walking through endless paddocks of long wet grass, scented generously with l’eau de cowpat, being reminded at every other stile to keep to the route and not venture onto the adjacent farm road (or else the privilege of walking through cowpats might be revoked).
Again, it was a relief to reach a road and finish off the day on gravel, with a bit of tarseal verge. It was even more of a relief to reach Havelock and find a cafe that served analeptic fresh fruit ice cream. I was still feeling tired and slow and finding it hard to get a spring in my step. Maybe a sleep on a pillow rather than my rolled-up puffer jacket will make a difference. Or maybe I’m tired because it’s nearly time to stop.
The township of Havelock prides itself in its green-lipped mussels (they export 22,000 tonnes of them annually) so we had dinner at the Mussel Pot so Tony could try some. Each to their own. I stuck to vegetables.
Gross thing of the day: The dead toenail on my right foot started to lift off, still attached only at the nail bed. It could qualify as a zombie toenail.
Day 150 (Sun 18 April): Havelock to Anakiwa
Started 9.50am, finished 2.45pm, 17k.
Pain in the head status: Yesterday’s migraine persisted but I didn’t bother trying to treat it as these persistent or rebound ones don’t respond to medication. There’s an unpleasant raw edge to them but I was tired enough to sleep through it, even though it woke me up occasionally. I haven’t walked all day with a migraine for a long time – but I’ve become more chilled out because it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the walk. It might have even made me more conscious and appreciative of the beauty of the surroundings.
Word of the day: Pelagic, pertaining to oceans.
We took a leaf from the tramping approach of the millennials and started late, after a leisurely coffee and scone at a cafe in Havelock. The weather was perfect – clear skies and a mild temperature ideal for walking.
Most of the walk was on a new track, the Link track, that joins up Havelock to Anakiwa and ultimately Picton. This was quite a delightful walk – the path was easy, it was often through gently shaded bush and had lovely vistas down to the branching arms of the Marlborough Sounds. It had been a while since we had pelagic views and plenty of water birds to try and identify.
The sound-side settlement of Anakiwa was a sea-lover’s paradise – people were out on boats, jumping off the jetty into what must have been chilly water (I wasn’t game enough to check) and taking selfies on the beach. We stayed at a gorgeous apartment with sea views right at the start – or the end, for most people – of the Queen Charlotte track. We were perfectly set up for launching into the final section tomorrow.
Fruity bonus of the day: At Linkwater, there was a wee stall with free produce donated from people’s gardens. We had an apple and tomatoes for the road and stocked up on feijoas for breakfast. Thank you, kind Linkwater community. We take the disposal of free food very seriously.
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Just the final swim across the straight to finish.