100km hitched + 16km walked, 10 hours
The Rangitata River is another hazard zone that you are not supposed to cross. Some other hikers are going to attempt it, but high winds mean that the silt from flooding a few days ago is being whipped up into massive dusk clouds, making conditions miserable and the water too murky to tell its depths. We hitch hike around instead. This takes a long time as we are starting in the middle of nowhere and going to the middle of nowhere. Plus the closest bridge is 50km downstream.
After three hours, we are picked up at Erewhon Park. Erewhon is “nowhere” spelled backwards. I wasn’t exaggerating; it’s had this name since 1863 when Samuel Butler made his first homestead.
This is a good hitch and we are across the bridge. Getting back up the other side takes a decent wait, followed by a walk against a strong headwind. Our ride wasn’t going all the way to nowhere (this side is ironically called Mesopotamia). Instead they took us most of the way and in the three hours we walked, not a single car passed.
We ended the day staying at Mesopotamia Station, in the original homestead. It’s historic and has character. That’s the positive thinking way of saying old and maybe it’s had the same mattress for fifty years. Still, there were plum trees with ripe fruit all around.