Friday, March 9, 2012

Rail Trail Walk. Day Five

Oops, I put this on the wrong blog, my writing blog, where it has been languishing for several days.

The Final Day.

Denise kindly drove us back to Chatto Creek for today's walk. I only found out almost a week later, that Gay's heels were hurting her so much that she was seriously contemplating not walking today. She seized the breadknife and sawed down the back of her shoes so that it was not digging into her so much. This is something we have seen recommended frequently in running magazines. Those "heel protectors" actually cause a lot of damage and are really only there for aesthetic reasons.

We set off at 7.45 into a strong wind. We had watched the tv news and knew that the predicted weather had already hit North Island, causing the cancellation of all sorts of events, including the very important (to triathletes) Lake Taupo Iron Man Triathlon. We only had some of the periphery of this weather but it was very cold and the wind was against us. I was convinced this would slow us down but we put so much effort into battling it that I noticed, as we passed successive kilometre markers, that we were actually walking faster than usual - 9.5 minutes, instead of 10 minutes per kilometre. It was hard work.

Again we were huddling inside our ponchos for extra warmth and to protect us from the wind.

Even with the sawn-off shoes, Gay was so unhappy in the heel department that she felt like phoning for assistance in the first couple of kilometres, where we had no phone signal. Then things improved a bit and she thought she would drop out at Alexandra but by the time we reached Alexandra, 8 kms before the end, she decided she could make it all the way. It may have helped that at Alexandra the track turns back on itself so that the wind was at last behind us. And, being a sunny day, it had also warmed up considerably by then. We were able to remove the ponchos.

Just before the Muttontown Viaduct, about 2 kms from the Clyde Railhead, we telephoned Denise, as arranged, for a lift back to base.

On we went to the railhead, which was a hive of activity, lots of parked cars, a few buses. Obviously it was going to be a busy day on the trail for cyclists.

It wasn't Denise who arrived in her red Qashqai, but her husband Rolly. He quickly ran us back to the motel, where we found that, in addition to running her business and getting ready to go to a wedding in the afternoon, Denise had made lunch for us. What a star - or is it an angel?

And so finished our most recent adventure. We have cycled the full length of the Rail Trail before, and we have frequently walked or cycled parts of it. We have probably done 2,000 kms on the Trail. There are always lots of cyclists. We have seen the occasional walker out for a local stroll, for instance from Clyde to Alexandra. But we have never seen anybody else walking the full length of the Trail. Clearly some people have done so, but there could be so many more, bringing yet more business to the area and enjoyment to walkers. All it needs is a bit of publicity. Although I believe it was set up for cyclists and walkers, it has become known as a cycleway. To the extent that several cyclists we crossed with during the past 5 days asked us if we had lost our bikes. I know that the management of the trail website have become official followers of this blog. I say to them, please feel free to use our experience to attract more walkers.

To others who are following the blog I say don't forget that this whole "Vic's Big Walk" undertaking was set up to raise funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer research. If you do not feel up to making a donation via this page, please think of getting a copy of my book - information also on this page.

And to everybody I say please have a look at my new blog about my writing activities. There is a link on the right side of this page.

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