Today’s distance: 12.04 km

Total: 344.77 km

As hikers we all seem to have similar body clocks. All waking up at about 6 am we heated up a cuppa and enjoyed our breakfast. We all braved the weather after the thunderstorm. Paddy was heading the opposite direction and Sue, or ‘Redback’, was aiming for Melrose like me.

Paddy had warned us about the steep inclines coming up, which made me nervous. I think I’d rather be oblivious to the challenges ahead. When I walked along these sections they didn’t seem as bad as yesterday. Sorry Paddy, you don’t know what was coming for you today!

Reached the top of yet another mountain. And guess what? No view from the top. The track down was mostly smooth and well maintained. The gradual decline meandered along Mount Remarkable down to Melrose. Passing over 20 day hikers along the way. One struggling day hiker asked if this was our most difficult section on the trail. I had to be brutally honest and break it to him that it was an easy section. Poor guy.

All morning I was dreaming of sleeping in a cosy bed and warm room that night. Redback even said she would go in halves for a room. We reached Melrose and absolutely everything was booked out! Only some space was left to pitch a tent. I called my parents and told them about the dilemma. A few minutes later they said myself and Redback could stay with Dad’s cousin’s partner’s place on a farm outside Melrose. I was keen as beans.

After a pub meal we were picked up and welcomed into a home with a roaring fire. Enjoying some banter and sharing stories, I was so chuffed to feel warmth in every part of my body again. Magic.

Quote of the day: “ the trail always provides for you when you need it” - Redback

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