Te Araroa :: Christchurch ZEROS
February 20, 2018 - February 21, 2018
CUMULATIVE: 571 km
All the stars sort of just aligned to bring me down to Christchurch on Monday. If I hadn't broken my camera, I probably would've continued on rather than have hitched down to the nearest city where I could replace it. If I hadn't come down to Christchurch, I would've been stuck at Boyle Village waiting out the weather up there. Being in a city the last few days has allowed me to tie up some loose ends and get squared away before hitting the trail again. (Finally going to the dentist, for example.) And it's just been nice- stayed in a hostel the whole time and had access to all kinds of amenities, including unlimited wifi and a computer from which I could update this blog. Sure I'd rather have continued walking, because I was on a roll, but if I gotta be grounded due to weather, I'm glad it was in a city.
My bus to Blenheim yesterday was canceled due to weather from cyclone Gita, so I just canceled my dentist appointment there as well. Fortunately, I was able to find a dentist here in Christchurch who could see me. Prior to this morning, I hadn't been in over a decade. I hate going to dentists and doctors, so I avoid them unless I have at least a semi-serious reason to be seen. I count a broken wisdom tooth as semi-serious, so after putting it off for over two weeks, I finally took the bad weather as an opportunity to go in. I wasn't in any pain, but I figure it's best to get ahead of something that could become a much bigger issue when I'm in the middle of nowhere. Leslie said my teeth are in pretty good shape aside from the affected tooth. She said she could clear out the decay and do a filling, but I told her to just pull it. I mean, it's a wisdom tooth. I'm not gonna miss it. At my age, most folks don't have 'em anyways, so why fuss with it? Bye, Felicia.
My time here has been really mellow, and I've appreciated that even if it's made me a little stir crazy. Ended up heading down to City Centre to meet some other trampers at a local pub after I saw a blanket invite on the "Te Araroa 2018" Facebook page earlier this evening. As a classic introvert, I had to will myself to go, and I knew I'd be glad if I did. Having only just started and hiking as quickly as I do, I haven't found a community on the trail yet. It took over 800 miles on the PCT before I found my clique. The South Island of Te Araroa is only 800 miles, so it's entirely possible that I won't find a tribe before I finish. Nevertheless, I had a great time getting to know some other hikers and swapping stories tonight. I hope to see them again down the trail.
I saw reports of snow in the high country, and I believe it rained most of the day up there. I'm curious what the conditions will be like for the next section. Right now the weather looks good for the next three and a half days or so. I'm planning to hit Arthur's Pass before the next storm, but I'm also at the mercy of the trail conditions, so we'll just see. Regardless, I'm planning to hitch hike back up tomorrow and hope to at least make the first hut before nightfall. Could be a tough hitch; might have to show some leg.
Given the extreme weather patterns that have rolled in over the last few weeks, I've decided that I'm not going to bother trying to re-hike the last section. Just gotta let it go and keep cruisin' along. As a perfectionist, it stings a little, but that just means that it's good for my personal work. You could say that I'm working on "living beautifully with uncertainty and change." On that note, I'm open to the possibility of flipping down to Bluff and finishing my hike northbound if the weather continues to disrupt my flow. I really don't want to do something like that, but I may have to get creative if I also want to take my side trips. Can't really afford to lose three days here and three days there.
I've also been working on mentally reframing the destruction of my beloved camera. It's a mistake that remains at the forefront of my mind, so I'm trying to find things for which I can be grateful that came directly from that event. Meeting Rob, Liz, McKenzie, and Big Kitty Meow Meow at the pub tonight as I described above was one example. Also just gaining a deeper appreciation for my GoPro. I spoke to its limitations in my last update, and they are many. But damn if it isn't a bomber little camera. And it was fun to take some videos, which I don't normally do. All in all, everything happens for a reason.