I was a bit concerned about our luggage getting picked up and delivered to the dock in time for the boat, but E's complete confidence in the resort's ability to execute was correct. Our luggage headed off in the large cart pulled by a tractor along with several other bags, all labeled for their next destination.
We read a bit in the AM after breakfast so as not to arrive at the next resort before check-in. Finally, around 11 AM or so, we picked up our packed lunches and headed out. It was overcast and cool, just like the previous day, and it had rained that night and early AM.
Day 2 of our walk was the easiest day on our schedule, just shy of 8 miles and not much in the way of elevation gain or loss -- yet, again it was more technical than we were expecting due to the mud, puddles and wet conditions of the trail. We managed to finish in just under 3 hours (not including a 15 minute or so lunch stop).
Like the day before, we regularly passed other groups of hikers, primarily on the uphills and downhills. I realized a few things on this trip about my general level of fitness:
i) Trail running is *great* training for hiking. In general, despite being in my Brooks Ghosts instead of hiking shoes, I found that I knew which foot placements would be good options and which ones would be slippery -- this knowledge let me keep a constant effort going, which helped with keeping a steady pace on the climbs, descents, or amongst roots, rocks, etc. Also, on the downhills, I adopted a slight bouncing walk that was one gear away from a jog. I found it to be low effort and *very* efficient -- much easier than trying to brake with my legs and keep to a walking pace.
ii) My general upper body and core strength is much more of an asset while hiking (probably trail running too) than running on the road. Before E's broken foot, while I could always win on distance, E's comfortable running pace for shorter distances definitely pushed me into a zone where I was working much harder than him. The opposite is true while hiking -- my comfortable pace both for climbing and descending is in a zone where E is working much harder than me. I attribute the majority of this to pumping my arms and being able to recruit my core so my legs didn't have to do all of the work.
iii) Knowing how to fuel from running is very helpful when hiking for several hours. While the needs aren't the same and you can digest much better hiking than you can running, I found it very good and comforting to know when to schedule snacks, meals, and liquids (although it was cool enough and damp enough that my liquid needs weren't that high).
iv) By day 2, we'd learned that we are what the boat taxi company refers to as "Fast Walkers". When stops to enjoy the view are included (which makes sense, as you are there to sight-see) we tend to average below 25 minutes per mile. It's much more variable than that, of course. A mile with gorgeous views at the top of a long climb would take us closer to 30 minutes, where as a gentle downhill through the bush would be closer to 20 minutes or less.
|One of many gigantic ferns in the "bush" of the track.|
|The view of Endeavor Bay from the track.|
|One of many resorts on the track where we did not stay.|
This suspension bridge was so quaint, it felt like it could have been an Eagle Scout project. If you zoom in, you will see the warning that the max load is 2 Persons.
|A very shaky suspension bridge.|
|Baby of the flightless bird endemic to the area whose name I forget.|
|Adult of flightless chicken-like beggar bird.|
|View of Punga Cove (our resort) from across the bay.|
|The view from our A-frame cabin.|
|View from the Punga Cove Bar (on the dock).|
|Rural Bag 408 -- now that's a remote address...|
Shortly after locking this door, we fell into deep restful sleep. I don't know if we actually made it 'til after sunset. We were exhausted and we knew we had the biggest day of hiking ahead of us the next day.