The final bit of the trail was a 5km stroll down a 4 wheeler track and then 10 km on the road into St. Arnaud. We started during a break in the drizzle, but it soon began raining in earnest. My raincoat is a failure. I suppose it took a slightly longer time to soak through the fabric than regular clothes and that I was moderately more dry than if I'd not been wearing it, but it was still rather terrible. I realized that the cuffs around my wrists were actually holding water inside the sleeves, so I undid them and water ran out of the jacket, down my hands, and dripped onto the soggy ground. An abject failure of a rain coat.
We hoped that once we made it to the road, some kind person would take pity on us and pick up the cold and wet hitchhikers. Instead, I could practically hear the thoughts of the drivers zooming past 'wow, those androgynously dressed hikers look like they and all their gear are soaked through; I certainly don't want them mucking up my nice car.' After about two hours, a nice young guy from Auckland picked us up. He was in a rental car, so I suppose he didn't care if it got wet, and he said he couldn't believe we were hiking in the middle of nowhere. He blasted the heat for us and drove us to the hostel, which was full, then convinced the owners to let us camp in the yard. Quite a charming young gentleman.
Despite the ride we finally caught, it took a long time to recover. After 30 minutes indoors, Bethany's hands were still too numb and shaky to open a chocolate bar.
We hitched back to Nelson on the 8th, partly because we could get actual beds, partly to see friends, and partly because we thought we were going to skip the murderous trail where 360 people had perished and Nelson would be a better place to get a bus. However, as we've decided to do that trail, we now have to hitch/bus back to St. Arnaud. Given the fab time we've been having with the excellent people here at The Bug, not to mention the delicious pastries they keep baking, I'd say it was well worth it.
We tried busking, which was about as successful as my rain coat. Not very. I'll try again today; perhaps a different style of music, something more upbeat, will render people financially appreciative.