We had enjoyed our first rest day after eight days of walking and were all set to get back to the trail on the Saturday morning. Our packs were repacked with dried gear, water bottles filled, and we were relaxing with pre dinner drinks with Graham and Phillipa when the very unwelcome news came through of a level three lockdown beginning that night. It was to be three days only. Extremely lucky for us to be with such hospitable gracious hosts that didn’t mind having a couple of refugees join their bubble.
So we had a few more days for relaxing. As well as helping with some jobs around the house I got into a challenging puzzle.
We both read some books and I did some online Pilates. And to try and maintain a little of the trail fitness we’d built up, went for a few walks around the neighbourhood.
More disappointment again three days later was the announcement of a further three day extension. We were still hopeful of waiting it out and being able to continue our northland sections as there was yet to be a community acquired case reported. With the third extension of lockdown, this time for a five day period we decided to give up on waiting, and move on so we could continue walking. We are allowed to leave a level 3 region to return home so after having our covid test we booked flights back to New Plymouth via Wellington. Before leaving I pulled out all the stops to get the puzzle finished.
A huge thank you to Graham and Phillipa for looking after us so well for almost a week. We had a great time but as it’s nearing the point of being off trail for as long as we’d been on trail, it is most definitely time to get back to it.
The visit home was as required by the rules for leaving but also gave us transport options to reach the next section- thanks dad (and also Rebecca for offering).
We spent a bit of time analysing the options of where best to start next and have settled on Whanganui. We plan to be kicking off from there tomorrow (day 16 of our journey).
There have been many extra decisions required and plans, back up plans and then completely new plans already due to covid. But still we are very grateful to still be in a position to have this journey underway and able to continue to some degree. I was actually interviewed this morning by Radio NZ around these issues. If anyone does happen to hear it please know that I was speaking through my mask for the whole interview. We were waiting in a very sombre airport under police guard at the time.