March 5, 2018
START: Lake Tekapo @ 2000
FINISH: Twizel @ 0955
DISTANCE: 54.5 km
CUMULATIVE: 1,032.5 km
Decided last night to just overnight the canal walk from Tekapo to Twizel. Didn’t wanna pay to camp, because I think that’s silly. And I’d rather get into Twizel in the late morning and find a backpacker where I can stay the day and night to maximize my investment. I don’t mind paying for accommodation, but not if it’s just a late bed and an early checkout. Besides I think night hikes can be really fun, especially with the moon still being nearly full. The walk is quite flat and uneventful, especially with the clouds and rain. But boy, I got to walk into a gorgeous sunset before the clouds choked almost everything out. The sky was on fire with pinks and purples against a dark treetop silhouette. Then I watched the moon rise just between the horizon and the dark layer of clouds above. Love that stuff.
Despite the promising forecast at the outset, it began raining around 2230 and continued steadily for a few hours. I quickly regretted my decision to carry on. No shelter of any kind in sight until I came to a bridge that was so low to the canal that it would’ve been a death trap if the water had come up. I regrouped briefly under it anyways, and thankfully the rain stopped just as I emerged. I was quite annoyed at the whole thing, but that’s New Zealand, eh. There were some short periods of light rain after that, but nothing significant.
I reached Hayman Road, the end of the canal walk, at 0330 and took a 30 minute power nap that ended up being a 20 minute power nap. It got chilly quick when I stopped moving. (Didn’t really think that one through.) Hopped up a little before 0400 and put on a layer before continuing down the sealed road toward SH8. Took another break at 0700 at the TA turnoff to the Pukaki Flats Track. That’s when I decided I didn’t wanna walk through what would likely be wet, muddy bog, so I walked the road into Twizel. Both options are about 10 k, but I figured the road would be drier and faster, so off I went. No shame in my game, y’all. Of course 54.5 k’s of straight road walking definitely takes a toll. My back is killing me right now.
Arrived in Twizel after walking a long, frustratingly straight road. For an hour and a half, I walked into traffic watching car after car emerge from the bend that would lead me to Twizel. It almost seemed like I never got any closer, then suddenly I was standing in the supermarket. Sweet bliss after a long night.