After pushing it yesterday I was left with maybe 13km to town. I had decided yesterday to get to town early, resupply for the next five days to Hamilton and to continue after a good lunch straight to Waitomo which is just another 20km. So I said my alarm for six to be ready at sunrise at seven. I was good in time until I spiller half of my bowl with water in the tent. One learning of today: never place your bowl on your air mattress. So I left at 7.30h.
The trail got worse. It was very steep, the grass very long and soaking wet from the mist so you could not see what was underneath. And I officially say it now – I don’t like my shoes and I will exchange them first thing when I can. I constantly slipped which was not helpful on the very steep section. I don’t know what I would have done without poles. But then it happened. My left foot was on the slope with supposed good grip when I lifted my right foot to move forward. My left foot just slipped away and down the slope and turned me around. I was just able to hold on to some grass and bush to not fall down the slope. But while I was turning over my left ankle I could already hear a big cracking noise. When I got up again I could feel the pain in my left ankle and I could not put weight on it anymore. I hoped for it to just be a pain in the beginning which would settle after a while but it did not. After 10 minutes I had to give up. I checked my cellphone – no reception. I checked the map – I was still 10km away from the exit of the bush. But I remembered seeing a 4×4 track coming down to the river about 2km back. So I took the decision to bail out, go back and try to make it on the farm track. That fire sure would be easier than continuing in the bush. So I started going back – partly on all four since the terrain was to steep to manage with only my right foot. And I couldn’t place weight on my left foot, especially not in a slope and the foot being in an angle. It seemed like an endless time to me to make it back to the track. But I made it. And it was a big relief! I was hoping for a farmer to show up and started limping up the hill. According to the map it was approximately 3km to the state highway. I didn’t stop to pretend the ankle to swell and become stiff. After about 2km and another eternity I could see a house. And there were cars in the driveway! I went up to the house and had to discover that nobody was home. Unlucky. So I continued and spotted another house just a little bit further down the road. Again unlucky. So I walked it all out to the state highway and waived down the first car. A family from town on the way to Auckland picked me up and drove me to the hospital in Te Kuiti. When we said goodbye they said: “Good on’ya, at least you are wearing the right cloth!” Turned out that they supplied wool to Icebreaker – my favourite merino wool manufacture from New Zealand. The first person I met who works for Icebreaker! Maybe I am wearing something that came off their farm…
After seeing the doctor (an Egyptian) the first relief – apparently no broken bones but “just” an sprained ankle. But he said I will probably have to rest my foot for at least a week ? Oh no! One week?!
The receptionist came around again and handed me this needy paper. How cool is this.

Even though I had to tell her that she just completely destroyed the rest of my day since I was not allowed to do the three things I had been craving most for: a hot shower, drinks and a massage. We both bursted out laughing ?
While I was thinking about what to do a lady who must have had caught some of my discussion with the receptionist came up to me and asked me if I would need a lift to somewhere. Kiwis… And since I had to go town anyways no matter what I was going to do I gladly accepted. Hilary of course did not let me go without noting her number down and making sure I would call her to pick me up and stay with her if I could not figure anything out.
So I went to the cafe and first of all had a fabolous lunch – sprained, broken or completely fit, man has to eat!

Once I took my shoes off and rested the foot for a while you could see the swelling coming.

I decided to catch a bus to Hamilton which is the next biggest town so I could use the break to sort out my gear issues: new shoes and returning the broken ones, new socks which were killed by the mean shoes and new tips for my walking poles.
Do I have to mention that the lady next to me in the bus of course gave me a lift to my bed and breakfast from the bus station…?
And then I was welcomed by Diana & Fred. A lovely place right at the river and they took great care of me! Don’t tell the doctor but I still took a hot shower (I think it was the better option for all of us ?). And then they invited me for dinner so I did not have to walk anymore. How lovely! And only giving my foot ice packs and a decent footrest I was ok. Thank you!
Even though almost worst of worst happened today and I do have a forced break now the day after the incident has been pretty amazing again. Let’s see what else will happen during the break…

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