20 days? That’s ridiculous!!

But I survived.

The key has been in not doing too much, too early.

Others might dispute that, but I had my two nights at Callery Creek, and immediately followed by five nights at Gorge River. Another couple of days of energy expenditure to Big Bay, but then the next two nights off.

That just left the last five days racing out on the Hollyford Track, when the level on my pack was getting towards low tide.

Or as low as it gets.

Some big days, but spaced with others of not much activity, with little or no carrying my pack.

The last morning was an easy stroll out. Very humid, so I was soaked after two hours.

Suddenly my trip, well, this section of the trip was over. I was taking a selfie at the start sign in the carpark.

Just time to change into my merino T-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt that doubled as my pillow, ie, some cleaner clothes suitable for hitching to Te Anau.

Almost immediately I had a cheery ride the 17 km up to the highway. They were off to Milford, the opposite direction to Te Anau.

“If I’m still here on the way back please run me over!!”

I had memories of standing at that spot, in the drizzle, having run out of breakfasts as a couple of hundred cars zipped past, most eating baguettes, or sandwiches. That time I was finally picked up by a Korean family of three. No room in the boot for my pack so I sat it on my knees, thinking it might act as an airbag if required by their unusual driving technique, ie, slowing almost to a standstill on the corners, and dramatically speeding up on the straights so not allowing others to pass.

This time around the fifth car picked me up, maybe just a five-minute wait.

I was soon eating a vegan falafel burger, and sipping a long black.

The weather forecast indicated in two days time it was supposed to rain, so I decided to implement my plan that had formulated over the last couple of days. Head back to The Divide, walk the Caples Track, hitch to the start of the Rees-Dart Track, and once at Queenstown organise transportation home to Nelson.

Man, that weather forecast is giving me a little grief.

Just a one night in civilisation, then another six or seven on trails before being time to head back to my own bed.

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