December 2nd

Oh man, zeros never go as planned, and always go by way too fast. We all wanted to sleep in and that went pretty well. I slept in the best I could and then took the rest of the morning to quietly blog and catch up on some correspondence. At 10:30am, Becky and I got motivated to get out of bed and made eggs for breakfast. I envisioned this day for me as a hermit day where I would just lay in bed and watch shows all day (we have amazing unlimited and unrestricted wifi!). Yesterday, Becky began her gear makeover that was gifted from my insanely kind blog follower, David (so amazing!). Becky asked me to join her in getting the remaining items and I caved and said I would. There were a few smaller items that we’d yet to get. Becky and I both normally can’t stand shopping, but this was actually fun! The change that it is making, and how much this will impact her experience out here cannot be put into words. Being able to share this experience with Becky is pretty special and worth forgoing a day hermiting. 

We returned to Trek ‘N’ Travel, where we got the large gear items yesterday and picked up some smaller things. Becky had some stretchy Nike tights she was hiking in and got her first real hiking pants. Finding hiking pants that fit right can be difficult for many hikers to find. Luckily, one of the first pants she tried fit her perfectly. She loves them and they look like they were made for her. Oh man, the luck! Again, THANK YOU to David for making all of this possible! Then we picked up a cup, utensils (she had be using a super heavy pocket knife), a platypus bag, a dry compression bag for her sleeping bag, a bag for her food (she had been using grocery bags), and a mini towel. Funny story about the towel. When we first met, I convinced Becky to throw away this huge towel she was carrying and use a shirt instead. Every since then, we’ve had a ton of nights with showers and times when a towel would have been nice. I’ve felt horrible about that and didn’t expect this hike to have so much more showering opportunities than other hikes. This mini lightweight towel is great. For those interested, some other things that Becky has thrown out to try to lighten up the last couple weeks were her full length gaiters, a large platypus bladder with a tube, and the hood to her backpack that set up on top. 

Becky also got herself a new gas canister. She was carrying a huge one that was insanely heavy. She was buying this item on her own budget and threw in a dehydrated meal for me as a thank you for doing all this with her. The owner of Trek ‘N’ Travel was super nice to give us a discount on everything and thew in the dehydrated meal for free! THANK YOU Colin!

The last item of the day were new shoes. Becky wears Salomons, which I do love, but the current designs don’t fit me right. Most trail running shoes tend to get replaced every 500mi/800km, which is where we’re at. They are pretty destroyed from the combination of terrain we’ve been on. Heartbreaker, Angelynn, and Becky all got new shoes. Of course, I’m stubborn and determined to stretch mine a bit more another couple weeks where I sent myself some shoes. I flew over here with many pairs of shoes and it is one item people recommend buying before coming to NZ because they are pricey and in limited stock here. Luckily, there were holiday sales and Hamilton is a bigger city with many options.

While we were out, we came upon Angelynn who had just finished her Skype interview with the United Nations that I mentioned yesterday. She looked great and said it went really well! Of course, she was glad it was over. It’s exciting and I hope all goes well and that she makes it to the next stage. Today Angelynn looked up the pill she thought was an antihistamine that she gave Becky the other day. It turns out that it was the sleeping pill Zolpidem! Becky was basically roofied! Poor Becky! Angelynn feels awful about it and totally thought it was an antihistamine. Good news is that at least Angelynn didn’t take it on her own sometime and have it happen to her!

Angelynn all cleaned up and looking great for her job interview!

We also set up my old Tarptent Contrail Tent that Becky is going to use for the rest of the hike. It’s pretty much half the packed size and weight it seems of Becky’s old tent and double the space when setup. 

Becky with my old Tarptent Contrail and ULA Circuit pack.

We had fun taking some comparison photos once we got back to the hostel. It’s amazing the difference in size and weight of the gear. We’ll weigh it all for the grand total tomorrow at the post office. 

Tent comparison. Jack Wolfskin Gossamer vs Tarptent Contrail (now called a Protrail).

Sleeping bags: One Planet Cocoon -5C/23F, McKinley X-treme Light 1000 synthetic 9C/48F.

ULA Circuit 68L vs Kathmandu Incite 60L.

We did our resupply and it was already 6pm by the time we got back. Many hikers are in town and we were going to do a group dinner, but then we all decided we were too tired and just stayed in to eat. Heartbreaker, Becky, and myself each ate our own frozen pizzas. Tons of food! As side note, Becky decided not to do Hobbiton with all that’s going on. She has a 1yr visa and has plans to work and play tourist for 7 months after the hike. She will hit up Hobbiton. It will also feel more relaxed for her to really take it in when she isn’t in the mindset and physical challenge of a thru hike. She WILL go and I may have to retro add in the photos:)
We finally got some time to lounge and watched the last two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Then I got to watch some of Survivor. I’m not all caught up, but I’m getting there. I think the finale is this week, so I’ll have 2.5 episodes to watch. Helping Becky get the gear was well worth passing up some hermit time. Tomorrow we set off on what looks to be a leg that will have us out in real wilderness much more and we may even go five days between towns! 

Watching Grey’s Anatomy!

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