Sometimes you wish, there was a bus..
Trying to make content for a website is a difficult. I’m great at chewing a persons ear off, and completely ignoring cues to shut up (it’s a gift and a curse). But as soon as it comes to writing something interesting that people won’t compare to watching paint dry, or even worse, a game of cricket, I’m lost for words. People suggest that I should write some posts about hikes I have/am doing to prepare for the PCT. There are plenty to choose from, but this weeks short overnight hike is an example of the great decisions you can expect from me over the coming months.
After convincing my fellow guide Maddie (check her out on instagram @backpackinblondie) to come on what I described as a relaxed overnight hike, and after (a week post ankle sprain) she foolishly agreed, we were off. I had decided on doing the Mount Somers circuit track, in the Hakatere Conservation area.
‘The Mount Somers Track provides a number of options, including for kids, for an overnight tramp with impressive rock formations, historic mines and stunning views. It links the popular Pinnacles and Woolshed Creek huts. For a more challenging hike return via the south face of Mt Sommers’.
Stunning views, some form of historical importance, shut up and take my money. This loop has two car parks, we parked at the less popular side, and hiked backwards, because you know, why not. Funnily enough this also meant leaving the hardest part until last. So the 2.7km (1.7mi) climb to the ‘south face’, was just that, a non-stop seriously pitched climb (we’ll come back to this).
The first day was just as promised, stunning views, we were impressed, happy with our choices, and wondered why we hadn’t done this hike before? Maddie’s ankle was holding up ok, we were just taking our time and enjoying the scenery. The plan was to do the 3 day track in 2 days, no problem only 30km (18.6mi) in total. We camped that night on the saddle, preferring to tent it rather than use the backcountry hut.
We had a fairly big push the next day, as we were in no hurry on our first day, started super late, and didn’t get as far as we had planned. So we set out bright and early with the plan of finishing the remaining 23km (14mi), great call. All was well for the first third of this, and we were having a great time, until Maddie re-sprained her ankle…the plan? Get to the closest car park, and I would run the rest of the track, get the car, drive back and pick her up (what a hero), this is about the time I started wishing there was a bus.
Getting to the car park took longer than expected and it was slow going, to her credit Maddie was a trooper and didn’t complain or stop once. I ate the little bit of food I had left, grabbed some water, my phone, and started running the south face track to the car park, yay.
So remember the whole doing the hardest part last from earlier, yeah, I forgot about that too. But I was about to remember. Lets get one thing straight, I may have the emaciated frame of a trail runner, but were all about to learn, I’m not one.
10km (6mi), the sign says allow 8 1/2 hours, 10km, ha I’ve got this. 2 hours of running up hill, 1000m (3000ft) of elevation. I no longer “got this”. By the time I reach the ridge, I’ve got nothing left in the tank, and no water either. What I do have, 7.5km (4.6mi) of trail left to run. But at least there is a stale bag of potato chips and a warm half drank gatorade waiting for me in the car, and this was literally the only thing that kept me going, I forgot Maddie even existed. This isn’t what I consider a fun time. But I made it to the car, in quite possibly the slowest 10km time in human history. A stoic 3 hours 30 minutes, and almost dead.
Moral of the story it all worked out, and if it all worked out I call that a half- way good decision.