Thursday, January 13, 2011

South: Take that, Abel Tasman

One of my goals in New Zealand was to do an overnight hike (tramp!). It seemed like the thing to do here, and they have so many great walks, I thought it would be a shame to miss them. Abel Tasman is one of the most popular because it is just gorgeous. You walk through cool green forests and then pop out onto golden beaches. Beautiful.

However, the day before we were going to hike and the morning of the hike and then the afternoon of the hike, it rained. A lot. Constantly. However, we had booked a hut to stay in so we went on. It was a bit of a drive out to Abel Tasman, and it rained. When we got there it rained. As we hiked it rained. But you know what, it was still a lot of fun! We even were asking ourselves why we didn’t do this more at home, because if we are tough enough to stand the rain, well then we are real hikers. However, if at home someone asked me to go for a hike in the rain, while carrying all my stuff, for three hours each day, I would say no. And then go eat some ice cream. So New Zealand does something to you, I guess.

Anyways, we felt like the cast of the Lord of the Rings as we set off, even adding in some thematic music. A quick incline killed that rather quickly though.
Andrew was the official walking stick finder, and did quite a nice job

About an hour in, we got to the first beach. And you know what, it really was all worth it. The beach was beautiful, and we were the only one on it. Just a small little cove, with beautiful sand, surrounded by forest. We all considered swimming but figured we would freeze. I would have loved to come on a warm day!

After this we saw a seal that we figure was injured. He was in a cove by himself, not moving a whole lot. Sad. He sure was a stinker though, worse than any skunk smell!

There were two more beaches in the last two hours, one of which we had to cross a little creek on a log (note this for later) which was no problem. By the end we were all very ready to get to the hut, with dreams of a campfire and some hot tea and some food. These were misguided dreams, when all you bring is sandwiches to eat. A hint, when you go on a hike and plan to eat (crappy with bad bread and nasty mayo) sandwiches the whole time, do not eat only sandwiches for the two days before. This was a slight miscalculation on our part. One more fun tip: do not buy no-name mayo, and do not spill it all over your car either (just us, okay!).

Feeling a little sorry for ourselves,, we forced ourselves to play some Uno - just not in the mood, then Mindtrap - better, then made up our own Mindtraps, - best, and then went to bed because it was too dark to do anything else.

Oh yes, before we went to bed, the park ranger came by and said there was a heavy rainfall warning. Yahoo!

In the morning, there was more rain. A lot of rain. We decided to get going asap, because there was no sign it would be letting up any time soon. Within ten minutes, we had to go through an ankle deep puddle. Okay shoes, you are now drenched, no point even trying! I think we all felt pretty sorry for ourselves for awhile, but then we sang Christmas carols to cheer ourselves up. I’m very thankful that there was no one else around. There are a lot of Christmas carols out there, and it is weird which words you know and which ones you don’t!

We got to the first beach, where we had crossed the little creek on a log the day before. Umm, no log anymore, and not just a little creek, a whole river had formed, and it was moving pretty good. Andrew tried to cross along the beach end, and promptly sunk in to his waist. Jen tried a different spot and was in to her waist as well. I didn’t have a pack, so decided to be the tester. We had to go through some brush and crossed a bit higher up. Good thing we read the sign about poisonous plants at the hut! Finally we crossed, and I swear, it felt like we were on Survivor or something, so hard core!

On the next beach I decided my shoes were already soaked, and just waded straight into the water. It felt good! The waves looked really intense though, they were crashing around, like they wanted to drag you in. On another beach, we saw a seal jumping along the surf, which is one of my favourite moments of the whole trip. It’s so neat to just spy animals doing their thing.

At long last we got back to the car, but now what? Getting into dry cloths is a bit difficult when you are soaked! I rinsed my shoes under the camp tap as they were full of sand., never had runners that soaked before. We piled back into the car (it probably stunk like crazy) and went back to Nelson where it was nice and sunny. Thanks a lot! We did some intense laundry, and had a nice swim in their pool, which just felt so luxurious. It was wonderful to be dry.

Anyways, we did it!

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