It’s so great to be on the road again! Marc seems to have conquered his jet lag and we’re getting back into the familiar routine that has served us well while traveling. Which is mainly, I take pictures of everything in sight and Marc drives and grills everything that can be. It’s a good life, especially if you like carcinogens. After eating much more healthily for the two weeks I was back at Jane’s, it’s good to be a little bad.
We got back to Dunedin after our hiatus and were met by our two new friends Steve and Barb. These are some of the friends of friends we met right before we left for Auckland. We didn’t get to meet her two girls though until this second weekend where we got to hang out with the whole family, check out the girls’ homework, watch a movie, drink some Tui beers and solve all the worlds problems. We were also all invited over to Mark and Catherine’s for dinner the next night and once again, I do believe things would run differently if we were in charge. Did learn about something here called a roof shout though that I don’t think you could do in the states. Seems they have a tradition where when a roof gets put on a building, the contractor brings everyone on the work crew a couple of beers. They drink the beers on site and then will continue the party at a local pub. Evidently it’s bad luck not to lay on a roof shout. This could not happen in the states.
After that lovely weekend we started the pilgrimage to Mt Cook. There were a couple of interesting tramps in the area we wanted to do and lots of sights to see. We can’t resist a good second-hand shop though and when we saw the sign for The Oddity, we knew we had to stop and check it out. This has got to be one of the best little shops we’ve found on our travels. It’s owned and stocked by a group of three friends that all have different areas of interest and expertise so there is a wonderful eclectic mix of retro furniture, vintage books, antique kitchen implements, clothes and tchotchkes. If you’re ever near Waikouaiti in Otago you must stop by and check them out.
We got to stop again at a park over property we stayed on once before as we’ve been through the area previously. Glenmac Farms is a working farm raising beef cattle and sheep on six thousand acres. This is where Marc first saw a silencer on the farmers shotgun and when asked what it was for, the laconic answer; rabbits. The trees have their fall colors now and the sunset was spectacular that day.
Back on the road again, it wasn’t too long before we were getting glimpses of Mt Cook. After an hour of playing hide and seek with the mountain, we arrived at our destination. The Tasman Glacier View Track offers just that. A twenty-minute walk up the path brought us to a view-point where we could look down on the lake with lots of icebergs floating and the glacier itself covered with rubble and bits of white showing through where icebergs have calved off. It was a nice way to get back into tramping after all the rain I had in Auckland.
We stayed close to the mountain that night as there was a much longer tramp planned for the next day. We parked at the Glentanner motor park and once we plugged into power, we had everything going. Two small space heaters, lights, the works. It was much-needed as it dropped below zero that night. It was pretty comfortable though we did use all our blankets to sleep. Marc says the grilling outside wasn’t too bad either as the gas grill does keep him fairly warm when he’s out there.
The massive tramp came the next day when we did the Hooker Valley track. This tramp starts at the car park and winds its way though bush, beside a river, past several waterfalls, over three swing bridges and two wee bridges and around a couple of hills until you’re smack dab in front of the Mt Cook/ Aoraki separated only by Hooker lake. What an amazing tramp! It took us about two hours each way as we do like to take many pictures and explore as we go. About half way in, the wind really kicked up and I’m so glad we had our parkas with us. We had a snack of oranges, granola bars and water while we rested at the half way mark and used the binoculars to check out the icebergs floating in the lake and the massive mountain looming above. We slept really well that night with thoughts of the reward we would treat ourselves to the next day.
There is really only one thing to do after a massive tramp like that and that is to soak in a hot springs. We had driven to Lake Tekapo afterwards so we would be ready for an all day soak the next day. The walk from the camp to Lake Tekapo Hot Springs was only about fifteen minutes and the springs offers a shuttle service which was good as it rained all that day. It’s a novel experience, sitting outside in steaming hot water and having raindrops plinking down on your head. There are three pools ranging from warm, warmer and really warm and I tried them all although we mostly stayed in the hottest pool. We weren’t cold at all except for the brief, bracing walk to and from the change room. We stayed for a couple of hours before going home for lunch and then came back again for a couple of hours before dinner. It was divine. I believe we slept very well again that night.
We headed for Christchurch after that, but I believe this is enough story for right now. I will pick up again here next time on Chasing Summer. I hope everyone is doing well and to my cousin Alex…. Dude! Happy Graduation man! You did it! I am so happy for you and wish I could be there for your party. I’ve gotten you a card but it will be a late arrival. Just know that I am so proud of you for sticking through it and coming out the other side with a dream realized.You rock! And so do Aunt Lil and Uncle Pat, eh?