So off I went, into the misty morning, feeling a bit better than the day before had ended. Despite the aches and pains, I felt stronger than the day before and the day before that. My body was already adjusting to the lifestyle of trekking.
But within a half hour of starting the knee shifted from the normal ache to the sharp pain under the kneecap... The pain I learned to recognize in the Army when I could no longer run.
I continued walking while I made my decision. I have loved the walking! Even though its been just the beach so far, I enjoyed my time. I was appreciating the gift of God's creation. But I also knew that even as my body grew stronger my knee would only get worse and would surely soon be followed by the left knee. I knew from experience that it wasn't something to be pushed through.
So I decided that when I could stop and get back to a town with bus service, I would stop. As much as I want to do this trip, it's not worth breaking myself. Luckily, my tour guide from a couple days before who had dropped me off at Cape Reinga pulled up on the beach and saved me from walking 2 more days to Ahipara to find a ride. So I finished my tour back to Paihia to rest and ice my knee and replan my entire New Zealand experience.
I am frustrated, of course, at this turn of events. As I said before, I had considered how I would feel if I didn't like it and chose to stop. I had not seriously considered how I would feel if I found that I ADORED it, and that I simply couldn't go. It isn't little heart syndrome, but little knee syndrome in this case, I suppose. But in everything there is a lesson... Never have I gone for something big in my life and not completed or achieved it. Now I must learn how to deal with failure, with extreme disappointment. I can still grow from this experience... And I can still explore this gorgeous country! All the things I thought I would see, I probably won't. But as Derek, the tour guide, pointed out, I will get to see other things I would not have experienced had I stuck to the trail.
So with disappointed hopes, I bed down for the night under a roof instead of a tent, after a hot shower, with a television on, ice on the knee, and dream about making new plans.
I also apologize to everyone following my progress... Very little of it was made, indeed. But keep tuning in as I post about other adventures in New Zealand. Thanks to all of you for your support and belief in me. Not a soul ever told me they didn't think I could do it. That belief allowed me to dream so big and believe in my own abilities. The confidence you all have in me is appreciated. I hope no one will think it was misplaced.