George and Rob arrive at the Pa at 7. It feels very good seeing them again.
Rob takes a quick look at my leg and shortly after we are on our way north. What was a 9 days-tramp from Wanganui to Waikanae is now "only" a 2 hours drive by car. Quite amazing, isn't it?
I settle in and together we eat a late breakfast. When Rob tries to convince me to have my shin checked at the hospital I'm initially fairly reluctant. Most probably because I'm scared of the results. If it's something worse than a shin splints... That would really be a disaster.
In the end Rob manages to convince me anyway and after making sure that the check at the hospital will be covered by the insurance we are on our way.
It's a long, uncomfortable wait. Hospitals usually cause an uneasy feeling anyhow and in combination with the uncertainty the wait is pretty awful. Gladly Rob stays with me and we spend the time chatting and observing other people.
All in all it takes more than 3 hours until I finally get the "good" news - together with a bill of 22 Dollars. What a bargain ;)
I use the prescribed rest days to catch up on this blog, do some planning for the South Island, watching an All Blacks game (including trying to understand the rules - with moderate success) and just to relax. As top chef George is in Auckland, I also dabble in cooking. Älplermaccaroni and Rosotto it is.
My leg starts feeling better after 2 days so I dare to do some easy walks. Initially only to the supermarket down the road, then a bit further into town, where I get my new trekking poles. This time I go for some sturdier aluminum poles from the Italian manufacturer Fizan (actually the only brand I could find in town). They are heavier than my carbon Black Diamond Distance, however when hiking with my temporary wooden poles, weighting nearly 1kg - each, I've noticed that weight actually didn't matter that much. Especially as I will keep them mostly in my hands and not carry them in the pack.
I also have enough time to browse a little through the TA Facebook pages, which is, as it turns out, not necessarily always a good thing: I learn that two foreign trampers (no TA walkers though) died in the Tararua's last week, not to far from where I've been Moreover, Waiau Pass, where I plan to be in around three week's time is apparently impassable due to snow, and a German TA hiker had to be rescued in Mt Richmond National Park recently. Not really motivating news at all.
Anyway... Tomorrow Tuesday I will continue my hike south. It will we be an easy, less than 20 kilometers, walk on the road and beach to Paekakariki. No need to carry much food as there are plenty of shops along the way.
Even though the last few days have been really, really nice, I'm happy to be back on the trail again - I somehow feel like I run the risk of becoming a couch potato if I stayed any longer ;)