Mountains, birds and wild horses
Imagine a valley tucked between long wild mountain ranges stretching as far as the eye can see. Now add a river flowing through and some waterfalls coming down from the mountains. There are gold honey coloured fields buzzing with insects and if you are lucky, some wild horses grazing in the distance. There are birds flying around and the sun is popping out of the clouds now and again. In the distance you see berry covered bushes, so full they are leaning to the ground.
That is where I suddenly found myself on our second to last day before Boyle village. It was a magical wonderland that I had only thought to be real in my head. I felt a burst of happiness, despite the cold river crossings and the sand flies trying to eat me alive.
I even found some mushrooms in the small sections of forests, growing in the soft moss, mushrooms I was certain were edible (and they were but so bitter). Maybe the wonderful feeling was also due to some hard days behind us.
We had some stunning days in the mountains and some rainy days passed in a super cosy hut next to one of worlds clearest lakes, Blue Lake (seriously it was phenomenal). unfortunately I don't have any photos of that.
We crossed Waiau Pass, a dodgy climb up and down, our second highest point in TA that can quickly become dangerous in bad weather. I must admit I was pretty worried about that spot but we managed without any hurdles.
Before any of this though, we received our package with our new winter gear, it was so exiting! We are so grateful to the wonderful people at Outfitters New Market along with Rab and Lowe Alpine for providing us with all our amazing gear. But seriously after walking 2000km in the same clothes I can truly say that if you want some good gear go to these guys.
We walked past our 2000km mark, leaving us with only 1000 to go. It might sound like a lot but it feels like it is actually achievable now and that we are seriously coming closer to the end.
After spending our days walking in the mountains sometimes covering only 13km in 9 hours it was really nice being able to walk a full day, covering long sections and being able to just look at the mountains from a distance. We even saw some wild horses one cold morning (yes, I’m talking frost). They were hiding in the trees and staring at us, then once we passed they galloped away. So freaking amazing to have witnessed that.
Another thing that occupies our time on the trail is birds. New Zealand has a large number of birds and as they don’t really have any predators’ part from rats and possums eating their eggs the birds are very tame. We have gotten a lot of bird friends along the way and I’m busy learning their names. It is so wonderful having Fantails flying around you, talking and sometimes even landing on your hiking pole or shoe, they even follow you for a while. Then there are different Robins stopping you and wanting for you to scratch the earth so they get to fresh worms.
We get greeted with bird songs every day and if that is not enough there are plenty of fluffy bumble bees that like to commandeer a spot on our bags for a little ride along. I have been a bug taxi a number of times. Arthur got stung by some wasps in 6 places the other week but other than that no one is trying to hurt us. Oh, the sand fly’s though, they are the devil, seriously it’s like they compensate for the lack of deadly bugs.
There are some strange insects here as well. In the mountains they seem to mutate with another because I have found some weird bugs that look like a mix of different insects. The weirdest was one black spider that looked like a daddy long legs but it was black and had huge white fangs, it seamed friendly though. I really enjoy inspecting the bugs, birds and plants I have even downloaded plenty books about the subject on my kindle.
We are now having a rest day in Hanmer and will enjoy a late birthday/2000km celebration in the natural hot pools.