Last week, we left off with my arrival in Picton and my hopes for a grand day of walking and exploring.
Once we had disembarked and the shuttle bus dropped us off in town, I gathered myself together and took out my map. It was 11am and I didn’t have to check in for the return ferry until 6pm – I had the whole promising day ahead of me! So I stepped forth with an excited spring in my step.
Picton feels like a small town but also like a very fancy resort, so walking through was a bit disorientating. The area around the Information Centre is reminiscent of a somewhat tired holiday/caravan park, with play areas for kids, mini-golf and a little park area. If you continue through the sleepy town to the other side, you may get lost amongst all the huge yachts. It is indeed an odd contrast. It gave me the sense of a small town which is holding on to the trade and tourism which passes through in order to survive; however, at the same time, the boat-filled harbour and idyllic townhouses on the edge of town suggested a wealth which was completely at odds with this initial impression.
I walked through the town and over the Coathanger Bridge (no, it has nothing on Sydney’s very own Coathanger, the Harbour Bridge) and I made my way to Shelley Beach to check it out. It was a tiny pebbly beach and a couple young girls and caravan-owners lounged in the sun.
Already feeling tired (quick recap: I had been sick all week and still had not recovered), I trudged on, determined to pursue my goal of hiking the day away.
Alas, my dear readers and friends, that is not what occurred.
Five minutes in, I knew that my hiking dreams were to be shattered. I was not coping. Or to be more precise, my poor restricted flu-ridden lungs were not coping.
I trundled on, ever hopeful and ever persistent, but it became very clear very quickly that it just was not going to happen.
The stunning view was somewhat ruined by the constant drone of noise coming from the ferry terminal/some form of huge factory, all the way on the other side of the bay. The noised echoed on despite how far away I walked and it didn’t do anything to help the headache which had begun to develop.
I realised that it was much hotter than I had planned for and I was not comfortable in my non-athletic choice of outfit. I had also forgotten to bring sunscreen, so had to be careful to stick to the shaded parts of the track.
At one point, I even FELL OVER because a man was running along the narrow track (who runs along relaxing walking tracks???) and I had to jump out of his way to avoid being bowled over and thrown down the mountainside.
After stopping three times along the track to catch my breath/convince myself to go on, I did manage to get to Bob’s Bay, which is supposedly a 30-minute walk from Picton. It did not take me 30 minutes, which probably comes to the surprise of no one reading this.
Bob’s Bay is a sweet little spot, and the heat and coolness of the water made me pine for my swimsuit, which lay buried in the corner of my luggage back in my dorm room.
I found a shady spot, lay down my jacket and sat down heavily. Feeling overpoweringly tired, I thought I might just rest for a little bit and see if I could recover enough to power on.
A couple hours later, I emerged from Bob’s Bay, somewhat groggy from having napped the morning away.
I had known in my heart of hearts since the beginning of my walk, but now it cam time to admit to myself that I would only have the energy to get myself back to Picton. So I set forth and (with several more stops) got myself back to Shelley Beach.
I kicked off my shoes and splashed around in the water for a little bit (only up to my calves), and when I could no longer feel my toes (the water was very cold), I sat myself back down and snacked on Manuka honey while writing out some postcards.
Once more overcome by tiredness, I sprawled out on the grass and let myself drift off once again, silently praying that this second nap would tie me over and give me some more energy to explore the rest of the town before my 7pm ferry ride back to Wellington.