Due to all the things that happen every day and the unreliability of human memory, I decided to take notes every day. A collection of basic data and a few words of description to help us easily go back with memories to specific days and places. In this post we decided to share one of these notes with you.
One of the reasons why we decided to publish a post in this form is the fact that we are already 500km further, all safe and sound, we feel great, and already dealt with all the pains and injuries we had. In retrospect this note makes us laugh, but you can realize that apart from the great kindness of the people we meet, stunning views and constant contact with mother nature, we are also struggling with some adversities.
Before you read the note, however, you should know what happened the day before…
We took our time while leaving from Riverside Holiday Park due to the fact that on that day we had a straight section to walk. We slept in a common room, thanks to which we saved the time we usually spend on packing our tents. We did not hurry. We left at 09:30. We had a very good start. We walked the first five kilometers on a nearly flat road at a rate of 6km/h. We took a break for a breakfast and walked to the beach. We have been moving more slowly since then. I began to feel pain at the tibia bone. It’s probably some effect of a night spent on the club sofa. I slept in a very bad position. My one leg hung off the bed, the other one was still lying on the armrest of the couch. That day we had a relatively small distance to walk. The road to Pakiri itself ran almost all the time through the beach. Nothing big. However, the tide-dependent estuary of the Pakiri River was located just next to the campsite. Due to the late leave, we knew that we would hit just at the highest water level. We decided to leave the beach 2km earlier and bypass the estuary by walking extra 6-7km. The pain in my leg increased steadily. We slowed even more. We reached Pakiri Beach Holiday Park after the 17:00. Relatively late, bearing in mind the ease of this part of the trail. Usually we are able to take such a section in 5.5 hours. Something was wrong. And it probably was a signal that we ignored, and the consequences were as follows…
Rano poinformowałem Piotra, że ból w piszczelu nie ustał. Wiedzieliśmy, że tego dnia planowaliśmy pokonać krótki, ale wymagający odcinek. Podjęliśmy decyzję, że mimo wszystko idziemy w las. Po 3 km prostego, drogowego odcinka zaczęło się podejście po zboczu pastwiska. W nocy padało co sprawiło, że trawa była mokra. Buty przesiąkły nam w moment. Wspinaliśmy sie na wysokość 432 m (Tamahunga Summit). Już na około 240 m weszliśmy w chmury. Droga po trawie okazała się nie najgorszą w porównaniu z tym co zaczęło się na krótkim, lecz stromym odcinku zejścia. BŁOTO! Po deszczowej nocy było go tam tyle, że nie dało się iść. Kilkukrotnie noga poślizgęła mi się na tym ustrojstwie i marsz zaczął być kompletnym koszmarem. Zaliczałem glebę za glebą naciągając (nadrywając?) mięśnie oplatające piszczel. Nie jednoktotnie okraszajac to wydarzenie tak donośnym “ku***”, że pewnie było je słychać na całej północnej wyspie. Ból był nie do zniesienia. Zwolniliśmy. Stawialem kroki niezwykle uważnie, a i tak co chwilę leżałem na ziemi. Później było już tylko gorzej. Tego gówna [błota – przyp. red.] było coraz więcej. A około 12 zaczął padać deszcz… Tropikalne urwanie chmury sprawiło, że w moment byliśmy cali mokrzy, a błotna ścieżka zamieniła się w brudny potok tego chu****wa. Czułem jak stuga wody przelewa się przez moją głowę, leci plecami, przeciska się przez oba półdupki i wije się po udzie, aż trafia do buta. Tragedia. Byłem u skraju. Wszystko zawiodło – zdrowie, pogoda, psychika. Marsz w takich warunkach nie przypominał urlopu. Nie sprawiał radości. Niszczył. Poczułem się niechcianym intruzem, którego TA próbuje wyrzygać. O 14, gdy przestało padać, wyszliśmy na szosę, która przecinala szlak. Koniec tego odcinka. Nie było mowy abyśmy szli dalej. Musieliśmy tylko znaleźć nocleg. Około 15 byliśmy już pod domem Matakana Outback, a o 18 skryliśmy się w szopie na narzędzia. Zapadła decyzja – jutro dzien zero. Koszmarne prognozy pogody i moje problemy z piszczelem odebrałyby nam przyjemność z pokonywania kolejnych kilometrów.”
“TA 22. 03/12/2018
Pakiri Beach Holiday Park – Matakana Outback
Start – 7.40
End – 14.00
Distance TA – 10 (479) km
Distance by app – 21.05 km
Weather – sunny, cloudy, rainy
In the morning I informed Piotr that the pain in the tibia did not stop. We knew that we planned to have a short but demanding episode that day. We made the decision that despite this fact, we are going to the forest. After 3km of a straight road section, the slope of the pasture began. It rained at night which made the grass wet. The shoes were completely soaked in a moment. We climbed up 432m (Tamahunga Summit). We have entered the clouds at about 240m. The grassy path turned out not to be the worst compared to what started on a short but steep part of the descent. MUD! After a rainy night there was so much of it that it was almost impossible to walk. I slipped on this crap several times and the march began to be a complete nightmare. I was constantly falling down and straining (tearing up?) the damaged muscles, shouting “F**k!!!” each time so loud that you could probably hear it all over the North Island. The pain was unbearable. We slowed down. Although I was taking my steps very carefully, I was ending up down on the ground all the time. Later it got only worse. There was more and more of this sht [mud – note. ed.]. And just about noon it started raining… Tropical downpours caused that in a moment we were all soaked and the mud path turned into a dirty stream of this sh*t. I felt the water pouring over my head, to my back, squeeze through both bums and writhe around my thigh until it hit the shoe. What a disaster. I was at the edge. Everything has failed – health, weather, psyche. A march in such conditions did not resemble any holiday. It did not make me happy. It was destructive. I felt an unwanted intruder that TA is trying to puke. At 14:00, when it stopped raining, we went to the road that crossed the trail. The end of this episode. There was no way we could go any further. We just needed to find some accommodation. About 15:00 we were already at the Matakana Outback house, and at 18:00 we hid in a tool shed. A decision was made – tomorrow zero day. Nightmarish weather forecasts and my problems with the tibia would take away the pleasure of further hiking.”
After a night spent in a tool shed, we moved to a lodge. According to the decision made earlier, we took a “zero day”. This day was like a holiday. We had a decent dinner and rested on the couch. We even managed to wash and dry our things. Unfortunately, just like the pain in my shinbone itself appeared, it did not want to disappear. Bearing in mind that we managed to hike only part of the Omaha Forest, we decided to wait with further walk until the situation improved. Unfortunately, we could not stay longer at the lodge in Matakana Outback, so we found accommodation one kilometer away, right next to the trail.
A blond woman named Jasmijn greeted us at Govan Wilson Road. Jas offered to stay in a big garage-storeroom. No need to pitch the tent always cheered us, so we did not think about the decision for any longer. The owner informed us about everything around and disappeared for a moment to prepare coffee and tea for us at home. In the meantime, we looked around, checking the place where we would stay overnight. We noticed the boxes after the moving and many objects that could indicate that the owners come from the Netherlands. As soon as Jasmijn appeared in the garage again, Piotr asked about her origin and admitted that hechad been working in Rotterdam for a couple years. A dozen sentences later, we felt that we were with our people. In the evening, on the same day, Jas invited us home for a beer. We sat with her until late talking about different stuff.
The next morning Jasmijn greeted us in the garage. She noticed that we were eating chocolate bars – our standard breakfast designed to give us energy for the next hours of hiking. She decided that it can’t be like that and within a moment she brought us eggs and bacon. We made a normal breakfast. Unfortunately, not everything was fine with my leg. We asked Jasmijn if we could stay one day longer because of my injury. Without any hesitation she replied that there is no problem with that. She added that her husband who used to be a physiotherapist is coming back home that day, and he could take a look at my leg. In the evening, we were invited back home. This time for a normal dinner with a bit of wine. We met Matt, Jasmijn’s husband, who is a New Zealander. We had a great time again. I think even too great because we forgot about my leg. We agreed that the next day in the morning, before we decide whether or not to go further, I will visit Matt for consultation.
That’s what happened. In the morning we went to Matt and explained what exactly happened a few days earlier. He told me how I can take care of the damaged muscle on my own and what probably happened to it after the night spent on the couch. He gave it a massage and he recommended to do it every day. It was not a relaxing massage, but rather one of those after which one has the impression that the physiotherapist wants to hurt you. I was a bit worried about everything that Matt said, that’s why I asked Piotr for another day’s break from the hike. It was also not a problem for Jasmijn. We could stay in the garage one more day. We only asked if they could take us to the city in order to make ourselves supplied for the next days. Again the couple showed us their kindness. First, Matt gave us a lift for shopping, then Jas took us to a local brewery for a beer. Unbelievable how kindly these people treated. We were lucky to meet Jas and Matt on our way.