There was already some trepidation when we shut the eyelids two evenings before about continuing forward under injury.  What should have been an easy decision-making process still played out the pro’s and con’s analysis.  We had come so far to be so close to the summit of Mt Crawford.

Common sense won out and we chose to stay a further day/night at the Matawai Hut to rest everything and re-trace our steps down and out.

For moments of the day, we did have the hut to ourselves and so made good use of the time by strategic planning the future beyond the North Island.  Do we continue with the trail and do the South Island?  Or postpone it till next summer and return home for a rest?  Both options were in tune with our 3-3-5-3 blue print to make this our best year ever.

We have a speaking opportunity in February to speak as a couple on the topic of “Simplifying Your Life – Dream, Design, Do.”  That is exciting to be able to share what we know with others to hopefully inspire them into downsizing their footprint, possessions and consumerism.  Perhaps be doing the stuff we are passion about … like stuck in a hut injured at altitude with pending inclement weather and no blazing log burner, sheepskin rug or glass of plonk!  We did have energy chocolate I suppose!

Where was I?

Bidding farewell to the forward walkers was bridged by welcoming the backward walkers arriving.  And the company of Fraser (17) and younger brother Sam (15); Dan, John and Marcus; and Ben from the Yukon Canada lifted the spirits.  The second night at Matawai Hut was fun.  Fun can be the best medicinal drug for any ache and pain.

It took us 8.5 hours to descend to the track car park we had originally been dropped off at.  The weather was kinder as was the track having dried up some.  The mud bogs however had caked up and to step on them thinking hard terra-firma and you still sunk ankle deep in the sludge black stuff.  The person following was certainly the clever one; and the cleanest!

The camera kept us company and allowed for us to stop and start to melt the enchanted forest of the Tararua’s.  Even the creeks forded with adrenalin had subdued to ankle deep clear water.  The toughness was still evident however, it was the right choice and just beautiful.

Making the tar seal with seven kilometres of road walking to go, we be-friended a fella mowing his lawn who gave us a lift into Levin.   Hobbling brings out the best in people and we were so grateful.

In summing up the past three days, we came to a part of the ranges nearing the descent end that opened up the view to the river below.  Turquoise water surrounded by naïve bush with mountain back drop.  When I was growing up, I remember seeing this exact same picture (or one similar) in a National Geographic Magazine.  That was in the early 1970’s.  It was a photo taken of a river in Canada, the land of the Maple Leaf.

Having started our travel by cycling across Canada last year to see the exact same scene, to now be seeing the same scene here in our homeland as we concluded the Tararua Range attempt was just an amazing coincidence.

At the hut, we had decided to only do the North Island of the Te Ararao Trail this summer; return home and postpone the South Island till the next summer.  It means we have 100 odd (or even) kilometres to go till we end at the bottom of the North Island.  Perhaps it was a sign.

Perhaps we are reading too much into it.

Either way, the photo taken captured it to summarize the past three days.  There is still unfinished business with the Tararua’s even if the trepidation was left at the Matawai Hut.  But for now, a new plan.

With it, a new kind of excitement.