Part 1: The Night Before

Sleep. I don’t do sleep very well. Or to be more accurate I don’t do sleep very long. Especially not when we are about to embark on a walk that is between 240-260kms long. A pity really because this is the last night I will have a nice soft bed for a while. We are sleeping in Nelson and will head off to Portland tomorrow morning.

 gsww1

Reasons not to sleep?

  1. I can hear the sea. It is a continuous dull roar. I’m an inlander. The surf is a place to visit once each summer, admire the view, get sand and salt in my hair, decide there are too many people and head inland again. It is 4.30am and I can’t sleep because the sea is roaring and if it is roaring it must be churning the beach into soft sand and next week we will have to walk along that for about 50kms.
  2. The panic pack. I have packed my gear and unpacked and re-packed. I have everything I could possibly need. And yet at the last minute I am doing some sort of mental inventory and compensating for shortfalls by shoving extra stuff in my pack. Rationally and logically I know I have enough food for three weeks but mentally I’m doing a shopping list. What about some bananas? Carrots? The bag of food for that day doesn’t look very big, maybe some more protein like more tuna. (I have so much tuna I could look like a penguin at the end of all this anyway). There is only one way to stop the mental roller coaster and that is to lose myself in a book.

But before I get lost in the book a bit about our team.

Jeanette is the instigator of this adventure. She’s the one whose father in law owns the house we’re in, so she has been coming to Nelson for many years and talked about doing the walk for almost as long. Over coffee she mentioned that she would like to do the walk and my comment was ‘Okay, when are we going?’ Our first training walk was enough to convince her that we were too old to carry a week’s worth of hiking gear and food and so we started planning for a supported walk. This is her first camping adventure.

Rosy is the super fit one in our crew. She has traipsed around all over the world including Everest Base Camp and the High Inca Trail. Having a daughter in the army reserve hasn’t hurt either as she has been able to borrow some very lightweight and functional camp gear.

Jenny has also walked a lot when she was younger but some health problems in the past few years have meant she hasn’t walked much lately. She is very new to both camping and hiking.

Me. Slow and steady sums me up. I’m not super fit but I’m strong and my endurance is good. I’m not so much a beach bum as a bush bum. I like camping and hiking and am not too fussed about the finer things like a hairbrush or a shower.

group

(From left to right: John, Jeanette, Jenny, Bev, Rosy and Jo)

John and Bev. Our support team. We’ve employed them to cart our gear from one point to the next, drop it off and pick it up the following morning. But I know them. If they had their way they would have our camp set up and our evening meal cooking each night as we walked into camp. We’ve had a ‘discussion’ about whether they can take folding chairs for us. They won, the chairs are in. However, we’ve decided that we don’t need them to have our camp set up for us at the end of the day. We want to at least pretend we are self-sufficient. Time will tell.

Click here for part 2

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