Admittedly, my hip muscle was doing better. I can now cross my legs without having to physically pick up the right leg and move it into position. I can bend over without feeling the need to scream. Well, sometimes. It's a work in progress. But everything else hurts MORE. My feet are getting pretty tough. They hurt, but they don't complain too much. They've learned that it doesn't really help. My calves hurt, my thighs hurt, the skin over my hips is bruising from the weight of the pack. My back hurts all over, my shoulders, my neck, my arms, even my fingers hurt. I've begun imagining my mind as this tyrant and all the various parts of my body are the oppressed serfs. The tyrant tells the serfs that this is all for their own good, that's they'll get ice cream at the end of the day (sometimes it's even true), that the hike is almost over, that it doesn't matter if they're in pain - just toughen up and do it. Anything to take that next step. The serfs are not quite in open rebellion yet, but the tyrant suspects that they're having secret meetings and might stir trouble soon. The tyrant is careful not to push the serfs beyond what they can handle.
As you can see, lots of alone time leads to interesting imaginings. And this is only one of the many dialogues I had with myself on this one day. I spent a great deal of time writing imaginary blog posts. I can assure you that they were quite hilarious, but can't recall the specifics. Ah well.
I had my first fall today. It wasn't bad, so don't worry. Along the path for today were a great many horrible places to scramble up. Most were about 4 feet high walls and required you to step/climb up tree roots. While this would have been massively fun sans pack, it is incredibly difficult hoisting all your weight and that of your pack up steps that are about a foot apart, uneven, and vertical. On one particular horrible spot, I managed to hoist my upper half over the ledge, but my legs didn't quite make it. So i was stuck, halfway up and halfway down this tiny cliff, my backpack dragging my torso to one side. I had to haul my legs up, roll onto all fours, and then push myself to my feet. It was not a graceful sight, although i'm sure it would have been hilarious to a third party.
We made it to the Mangahuia Campsite and beyond. And I have now broken my own record for most miles hiked with a backpack! (Bethany has too, but considering that she'd never gone backpacking before, this is not a big surprise.) We set up camp off the road to National Park Village in a grove of flax bushes. There wasn't really room for the tent, nor anything to hang the hammocks from, so we made a nest of sorts. The groundcloth from my tent was the bottom layer, the rainfly from Bethany's hammock kind of covered us (luckily it didn't rain) and we put all our bedding inside Bethany's hammock, which has a mosquito net, laid it on top of the groundcloth, and curled up inside. It worked. More or less. I was pretty cold for the first part of the night, but things got better when we stopped trying to use our sleeping bags as a bed and started using them as ... Sleeping bags.