Te Araroa: Day 53-55
Day 53: Wellington to Ship Cove and Madsen Camp
When beauty hits you like a hammer... I got up early today. The ferry to the South Island was scheduled for 9am, but I had to check in my luggage with the ferry company one hour before leaving Wellington. In addition to that I had to be online and on my smartphone at exactly 7:30am to apply for my Pacific Crest Trail Long Distance Hiking Permit, which was the initial reason for me to stay in Wellington for so long. Even though I logged in in the very minute that they opened the application process, I received no. 7203 in their virtual waiting room, which meant that I had to submit my application from the ferry.
The ferry took some 3hrs and the sea was pretty calm. I already knew the scenery from my trip 9 years ago, but still enjoyed the journey through the Marlborough Sound. I arrived in Picton at noon and had 1 hour left until I had to board another boat which would sail from Picton to Ship Cove, the most northern point of the Te Araroa Trail on the South Island.
Within minutes I was captured again by the stunning beauty of Pictons Harbour and the tropical scenery of the South Island. The difference between those two islands is incredible, even though they're just 22km apart from each other. The beauty and remoteness of the next 1.5 weeks would already completely make up, all that annoying roadwalk of the previous weeks. At 3:30pm I finally arrived at Ship Cove and started hiking again. I passed the first campsite after 6km and moved on, trying to make at least 15-16km that afternoon.
The well known Queen Charlotte Track is part of the Te Araroa Trail for its first 73km and so I met quite a few day hikers and I actually got turned down at Miners Camp, as it was full.
Some of these day hikers were a family of 6, headed towards Ship Cove, which I briefly met in the early evening. Just 15minutes later I stumbled upon a pink Iphone on the ground. I picked it up and recognized one of the smaller boys of that family which had just passed me and so I immediately dropped my pack on the ground, turn around and ran back towards Ship Cove, trying to catch up with that family. Luckily the girl who owned the phone had realized its loss and also turned around and after 5-10mins of running, I was able to return the phone to its owner.
I spent the night at the lovely property of old Tony Madsen.
Day 54: Madsen Camp to Davies Bay Camp (47km) After several days in Wellington I was well rested and felt ready for a big day, which came in handy. Campsites on the Queen Charlotte Track were quite limited, as the trail led through quite dense forest on one side and various bays on the other side.
Therefore the next reasonable campsites were either were close, or quite far away and so I opted for Davies's Camp, some 47km from my current campsite.
It was a beautiful hike through some stunning tropical scenery and some amazing lookouts on a not really difficult trail, which allowed for fast hiking. Yet again I passed many day hikers and went so fast, that my eyes were constantly scanning the ground for potential hazards like roots or rocks. The weather changed regularly, but was overall great and very hot in the afternoon. For the first time, we got close to 30°C.
That sheep REALLY wanted to go through a closed gate and asked me for help. The night before it must have gotten separated from its herd and ran through our campsite. I found it the next morning next to that closed gate, opened it and we walked through the gate side by side.
That's a Weka bird. As big as a chicken and quite feisty. They steal your food and other belongings if you don't pay attention.
Day 55: Davies's Camp to Havelock (21km)
Davies's Camp was beautiful and I left there at about 7:30am and quickly finished the last kilometers of the Queen Charlotte Track. In 1.5 days, I had completed what is usually recommended for 3-4 days.
The remainder of the day was rather boring. I enjoyed some nice views at Anakiwa, had a great breakfast at a Cafe in Linkwater and arrived in the small town of Havelock at noon, after just 20km.
Here I stayed for one night and got organized for the Richmond Mountain Range