It has started off as another beautiful blue morning so I guess it is going to be hot walking today. I think the path goes along a stream so lots of scope to cool off. We are in another great camp. This time it is a very cheap camp site. It is right next to a trout stream so we have been watching the fish jump up over the wear. When it has got too hot we have been jumping into the freezing water pools to cool down. Jacob and Louise have been shown a pool with a swing and a spring board – well it actually looks more like a plank from a pirate ship but we call it a diving board. I have not had the courage to go off it yet but Jacob and he is still here so I may have to have a go.
The caretaker of the site is a …. rum character. He went off shooting yesterday so everyone on the site had the chance to have some rabbits. I asked for 1 but was given 2. I was trying to stuff everything into one Tranga pot when Jacob returned from the stream with some friends. They happened to be in a caravan so we offered to cook if we could use there pans. A very yummy rabbit stew later we all were rubbing our bellies. Two rabbits were plenty enough for us all. Grant (the caretaker) has offered to take Louise trout fishing if she likes. We would look forward to that, but then we also would like to see the glaciers, swim with dolphins, walk a bit of the Abel Tasmin and see our friends up near Nelson and that is all before we go to the North Island; how does time fly so fast. I think we might have to cross something out and fit in some fishing if at all possible.
Procrastination, a great excuse not to pack for this tramp up the mountains – I wonder if I can spin the trip out to last a couple of days and get high into the back country. I will have to take extra supplies of sweets to bribe along the kids, that and my big stick when the sweets don’t work; after all I am working on my children’s neurosis for their future enjoyment.
Back from Mt. Aspiring and it was a cash problem that had us coming back, so I managed to hike up with a ton of extra food and still we came back the next day. It was worth it though. What fantastic scenery. I have noticed a tendency for me to try and relate each place we have seen to another that I have been to in Britain. With the valley we walked along I couldn’t. It was a beautiful wide glacial valley with a river rushing through it the colour of which I have only seen here, a brilliant blue that must be result of the glacial melt water. Ahead was a swathe of drying grass dotted about with scrub bushes. Towards the sides of the valley the beech forests started, all hung heavily with light green lichen, a testament to the massive rainfalls experienced here abouts. The forests got about half way up before giving over to various grasses and they gave out to rock the glacial; all of this topping out around 2000m above where we currently stood.
Somehow I had got my hands on another topographic map, so spent a very nice evening planning how I would climb Mt Aspiring. The fact that it would involve ice climbs, glacial traverse (probably need some ladders for the crevasse.) and a technical bit up some rocks just added to the challenge. I did have enough food, but the route had me out using huts for another 4 nights and since I had only had $25 in my pocket could not do it. (What a relief.) I did spot a guy with ice picks/axes, (what are they?) so I know that people do go up.
On the way out I managed to persuade the children to make a detour up a side valley to see the Rob Roy Glacier. (Wasn’t he a coyboy?) It was an additional couple of hours hike but again the views of the hanging glacier above our heads was worth the effort. Then on the way down we spotted the family that we had met in Nepal; trekking and rafting. We have arranged a meet up before we head to the north island.
Well with the campsite getting a lot busier, in preparation for the Easter rush, we had better sneak off to the super market to get us some chocolate.