Well, since completing the Herekino Forest, I made the call to leave the trail and get my knee looked at – it simply was too painful to walk and I didn’t want to risk further injury. This was a heartbreaking decision, but the right one.
I managed to walk from “Tramp Inn” to the forestry road and late afternoon hitched a ride to Kaitaia. Spending the day at the park resting and then the “Kauri Pub” for a couple of cold beers – I caught a late flight to Auckland where my lovely wife picked me up and whipped me to the luxurious Stamford Hotel for two nights of R&R and to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary! While this was not what we planned – it was a very enjoyable experience. I was able to visit my younger Sister and we had a great dinner out with her and her Boyfriend.
Since Auckland, we drove back to New Plymouth and I met with the Dr and the Specialist. After a few X-rays they were able to conclude that I had a Grade-2 tear in my LCL on the left knee. This was unfortunate news, as it means 1-2 months before I can do long-distance walking and only after my ligament heals, and then physio and further training to strengthen my leg again to get back to trail ready.
So, this effectively rules me out to complete the TA this season. It is “gutting” given the preparation, planning and everything I had put in to achieve my goal of walking the entire length on New Zealand…
…But, in a way, I am pleased that I attempted and started the journey. I have also something to look forwards to when I am ready again, to re-start my journey and get back on the trail knowing some of the hardest sections are already behind me!
So, I will sit on the sideline, read and watch other TA hikers on their attempts wishing them well for their personal expeditions.
That’s me out for now… but stay tuned, I’ll be back shortly ready to go and have another crack at the TA!