That moment when Life hears your plan, and laughs. Photo: Stuart Fleming

sat with my back against a tree trunk, right leg resting on my pack, elevated to relieve the swelling of my shin. Water from my sodden shoe tickled as it ran along my leg — the rain had been relentless — but at least the ground was a mat of pine needles and the branches afforded some shelter as I considered my options.

I was knackered. I had just walked twenty-nine kilometres along the verge of Canterbury’s State Highway 72…