Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 17: 17km, The Last Day

It has been so difficult to write about this last day; it feels like The Big Hike needs an appropriately exciting ending. But alas, that last day was a strange mishmash of emotions, and was pathetically anticlimactic. So in the interests of moving this damn blog along to catch up with my life (so much has happened since July!!), I'm forcing myself to get this all out as best I can.

Upon waking up on The Last Day, we packed as quick as we could and set off, hoping hoping hoping that Englishman was okay and that we'd find him soon. THREE KILOMETERS (an hour of walking) and a train track crossing down the track we found him, in the actual river bed (not our crappy dry-creek road). He had, as suspected, charged right past the place we'd stopped, as he figured (correctly) it was too small to be the river bed. I was both relieved he was safe and vaguely annoyed with him (and myself) for having worried all night long.

The last bit of walking was arduous for me. My feet hurt. I was exhausted. I was soooo close to a shower and a lie-down, but not there yet. Still not there yet. WHY ARE WE NOT THERE YET. Poor D did a wonderful job of getting me through those weirdly difficult last hours by doing things like leaving candies and nuts on posts next to the trail, so that every few meters I'd get a little treat to keep me going. He was still stupidly energetic and also sad that the hike was almost over. I felt crappier for being so crotchety while he was having the time of his life, and kept saying that he didn't want it to end. Sigh. Maybe next time I'll be less of a wet blanket.

At the official end of the trial, everyone wanted to take lots of congratulatory pictures. I think they really speak for themselves.

HOWEVER, I managed to perk up a bit for the last ~kms into town. We stopped and rested at the Telegraph Station, where a nice nap on the grass did a lot for me. I showered whilst D went out (still dirty) to pick up some snacks, and we both really enjoyed those activities. I felt like a new (still tender-footed) person, and our evening reunion with our hiking mates was wonderful.

First, we went to GrownUpFriend's room to discover that The Colonel and SuperAussie had left us a present - a bottle of bubbly, and fancy lotion and soap for us girls!! SO AWESOME.

The champagne paired very well with the watermelon D got everyone as a post-hike treat.

And then we went out to the pub and ate steaks and burgers and drank several delicious beers or ciders until we were buzzing, went back and watch the world cup in our hotel room,  to finally sleep fitfully on mattresses (but we enjoyed the clean sheets).


p.s. We flew back to Sydney the next day, sharing a flight with Englishman. The Sydney airport was pretty overwhelming; D and I just kept staring and saying "so many people..." We actually ended up just standing still until the rush died down, when it was easier to think. Then I avoided walking for the next few weeks, as my ankles and knees STILL freaking hurt, and I felt like an old lady taking the stairs sideways. But eventually it all healed up and probably I'm stronger now? Hopefully.

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