Day 4: Riverton to Colac Bay return

Thurs 26 January 2017

  • Km today: 24
  • Total Km: 96

As much as I look repeatedly at the metservice website for a change in the weather there is nothing favourable forthcoming. The wind still growls and my destination has disappeared behind cloud and rain. I’ve been watching the weather forecast for days hoping that the predicted lows might swing away to the south but alas the wind is still set to blow from the west.

Eventually however I can’t just sit around and lament that I cannot get up the mountain so decide that I will go out and cover some more of the trail. Even if I end up back at the hostel, at least I will see a bit more of the countryside and add some km to my tally. The walk starts past a small fishing fleet which are all tied up firmly from the wind. Soon the road climbs up to a rest area on Mores Hill which has a widespread view of the coast so I have to stop for a pic. From the car park the trail then ascends into the bush and it is a pleasant walk over Mores Hill and down the other side. The bush then opened into towering gorse but fortunately there was a good trail between the thorny bushes. At one point I thought I was going in the wrong direction according to my gps app, but occasionally the trail route does change from the TA gdx file so I am comfortable to follow the orange markers rather than the gps. Soon enough the gorse ends and I’ve arrived on farmland bordering the sea. It’s beautiful and windy! AM whips off with the wind so I have to fetch him before walking down the slope to the sea edge. There is a good sized swell pushing big waves onto the pebble beach so there was quite some noise. The track follows close to the beach, sometimes on it and sometimes up above to cross the headlands. By this time the sun had come out and the westerly took some of the heat out of the sun making it an enjoyable jaunt. 

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I am still trying to get used to the hiking poles. The right hand pole is simple to place in my stride but I have difficulty with the left hand pole which seems to have a mind of its own. Image a new born foal trying to stand for the first time at birth. That’s what I look like sometimes when a pole gets caught in between my legs! The terrain was too challenging to be careless so I maintained to slow down and concentrate on placing the poles to avoid any mishaps.

After following the Tihaka beach track for a while I ended up on Colac Bay Beach. It is all pebbles on quite a steep beach. There wasn’t really an easy way to negotiate across it as the pebbles rolled under my feet so after a while I gave up and headed up to the road that runs parallel to the beach instead. Once I had almost reached Colac Bay I turned back to follow the road to Riverton. As I was making my way along the road near longwood I could see a motorbike approaching on the adjacent farmland. I wasn’t sure whether it was coming my way or not but stopped anyway. The bike came right up to the fence and off hopped Emma, who was checking the stock. We had a nice chat across the fence before each of us continuing on our way. I really enjoyed the interaction with her, this is the sort of experience I hope to have throughout New Zealand so it really gave me a spring in my step for the remaining kms into Riverton (with stop for a beer)

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I had just got back to the hostel when I received an invitation from Anne-Marie to attend the St John Riverton training this evening. Not an opportunity to miss I readily agreed and wandered across the street at 7pm to meet the local station team. Anne-Marie is the only full time member and all others are volunteers. Can you believe that? They are farmers, teachers, lawn lowers, you name it – all collectively volunteering so that we can call for ambulance and first aid assistance when the need arises. Their devotion and time given freely is extraordinary and I was humbled to be there. I talked about my trip up the country then the training session commenced. Some of the members were doing stretcher training and the rest CPR training with the dummy, no not me.. But I did get to have a go. Later on as we were wrapping up a call came from dispatch and off went the ambulance. I was sure that whomever was needing assistance would be in the best of hands with these members.

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Did you know there is a St John app? I have it on my phone as it covers what to do in different emergencies, has tutorials and treatment for minor issues.

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