We said goodbye to Ben in Wanaka. His TA journey ended there. He had decided to use the great walk season end to his advantage (you can use your normal hut pass for the great walk huts now that the peak season is up)instead of suffering more treacherous climbs on the TA route.
It was sad to say bye to Ben who had, in so many ways, become a big part of our journey. We grew so used to his silly jokes, smiley face and the constant nagging to ‘push on’. We wished each other all the best and walked our separate ways, he to meet a friend and us, on to Queenstown. Thank you Ben for the endurance and patience you had with us, thanks for the laughs, the advice and above everything else your great company, you will be missed on our journey.
It was yet another sunny day and we had a nice easy walk from Wanaka towards our next section. In the trail notes this section sounded like a walk through Mordor so I was not looking forward to it at all.
The weather was amazing and the huts were new and flash but the terrain was pretty damn hard. We had big ups and downs and between the big climbs there were plenty of small climbs, constant scrambling along hillsides up and down and up and down.
On the last day it was suggested that in good weather we walk through a river so we did but boy, was that a cold walk. It used to be a popular spot for gold so we kept looking in the water hoping to spot a gold nugget. I was dreaming of all the things I would do if we found one and it all consisted of food and big beds.
We got to Queenstown in four days. It was sunny and the autumn looked more beautiful than ever.
It was such a bizarre feeling walking in to Queenstown. It was almost like it was all over already. We have two weeks left of walking and although a lot can happen in two weeks it is nothing compared to the 5 months we have just spent.
We needed to buy plain tickets back and look for work, look for a new place to live. Suddenly my world was going to be normal again. It has always been so far away and now I’m not sure if I have enough time to plan it all, there are so many things I want to do. I know the most important thing is to throw myself into exciting and fulfilling things, I have no intentions of sliding back into my old track of becoming a couch slug. Maybe the occasional slugging as it is very comfy and the winter is coming but that’s all.
I keep trying to come up with words that could possibly start to describe the feelings I’m dealing with but I’m not sure they have been invented. It’s like one part of me is disconnected but another more alert than ever. My body is exhausted and stiff while my minds is racing faster than the speed of light.
Queenstown is a great place to indulge as it has everything a hungry deprived hiker could dream of but it is also dangerous as my wishful thoughts seem to disagree with my bank balance.
It seems our ridiculous luck with the weather is running out as the forecast for the next while is heavy rain and the freezing temperature is lower by the day.
I think at this point though pianos would have to fall from the skies or the earth would have to flood with life-size, plastic Santa’s (my biggest fear) to stop us from reaching Bluff.