On The Abel Tasman...A South Island Adventure
Through hikes, I've decided, are basically prep for old age. I avoid any sudden movements for the sake of balance (large pack of unknown weight on my back). I move slower. I use two canes (trekking poles) and love them and recommend them to everyone. I am a definite falls risk…I slip and fall at least once per trip. A lot of time is spent hobbling around, complaining about my body aches and my feet, showing other people my feet, talking about the best ways to avoid pain in my body, listening to my peers one-up my pain. I get up with the sun whether or not I want to because it shines it's stupidly bright face right in my tent at 5am. Also 8pm is like, really getting late. Up to see the stars? Forget it. I find myself becoming infuriated with people playing loud music (any music is loud music ps) or laughing too loud near my tent or talking loud...or at all. Oh there is grumbling about how inconsiderate kids are these days and their lack of etiquette. Doesn’t anyone respect anyone anymore!? And people on hikes always want to talk politics! Please dear goodness let me be free of the US political discussion!
I've painted such an unpleasant picture here, I'm sitting in my tent asking myself why I do it. Perhaps it's the giant seven-layer dip of a blister growing on my baby toe, but I'll need a rain check to answer that question haha! Jk...kind of...
In the past few weeks I've hiked the cross-coastal track in Abel Tasman as well as the Queen Charlotte track. Abel Tasman was first on the schedule. I met up with my hiking buddy Kylie and we took the ferry from the north island to the south island and then the bus from Picton to Nelson. We checked into our hostel and looked up the weather since we were leaving for our four-day hike the next day. The forecast looked horrible--solid rain for days. Abel Tasman follows the coastline and 100% chance of rain every hour sounded miserable and just wasn’t the carefree, sunny beach paradise we pictured. We decided to cut our losses, lose our campsite reservation money and postpone the trip til later in the week. We wanted to enjoy it after all!
Well that night, there was an earthquake. You might have heard? Well I slept right on through it until text messages from friends and family in the US directed me to Google. I thought it might be good to know what they were so worried about…maybe I should be worried too! It was a pretty intense earthquake and there were some tsunami warnings by the coast (including Abel Tasman). But I was far enough away and there wasn’t much damage in Nelson. We went to the info center for the Department of Conservation (DOC) that morning to see about changing our trip dates. Due to the earthquake, they were letting people reschedule. So we were able to push our trip out to the end of the week when the sun would surely prevail against the endless rain. I feel a bit guilty that a natural disaster worked in my favor, but silver linings, right?
Oh and we had glorious weather. Not one, single, drop of rain. For four days. That has not happened in the history of New Zealand, I am certain! It was fun meeting lots of travelers on the track and staying at some of the best campsites I've ever used. The views were beautiful and I can't believe how blue the ocean was! One of my favorite moments however was on our second day in. I had just told Kylie that people cannot help themselves--when they hear I'm from the US, they cannot NOT mention the election. It's nigh impossible. So fast forward to setting up camp and our new little British friend, Sam (age six and very bright and loquacious) comes to visit. He asks where I'm from. I tell him I'm from the US and without skipping a beat, he looks up at me with a slight grimace in his face, sucks air in through his teeth and says with all of the sympathetic wisdom a six year old can muster, “...I heard Trump won the election..." Oh man! With that face and his little English accent, I couldn't handle the cuteness and just started laughing. "Oh Sam, he sure did. It's a national tragedy, I know." Sam giggled too and then proceeded to tell me about his favorite movie, Despicable Me.
Lot's of walking, blisters, and beauty on this track but basically, pictures are worth a thousand words, right? (I excluded the series documenting my foot maladies--you're welcome). I leave you to behold: