Sunday, 20 January 2013

Liquor is Quicker, but Liking the Hiking

We have finally hit the apex of the South Island with our stop today in Picton. This northeast corner of the island is known as the Marlborough region and is the ferry terminus access to Wellington which is only about 40 nautical miles across the Cook Straight. As an aside, I must tell you that I was a most inattentive geography student in high school. Frankly, the whole subject simply bored me to tears. It wasn't so much the "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego" stuff that I loathed, but rather all the shit about rock formations, tectonic plates, fault lines, and palaeolithic eras that used to lull me into a catatonic state in Mrs. Sherk's grade nine class. But here....all of a sudden I am rapt with attention when there is talk of previous seismic activity or calderas that were once active volcanos that have given nutrition to soil that previously was barren. Go figure! But, I digress.

This region is world famous for its wines, and given my new penchant for lushdom, The Husband and I originally thought that a wine tasting tour of the area might be nice. But....and here's where that prejudice I have for non-active bus rides rears its ugly head once again......we changed our minds and decided to hike the Queen Charlotte track in order to take in the natural beauty of the New Zealand landscapes. Of course this meant getting on yet another seafaring vessel. (The Holy One must be having a real chuckle at my expense with all of these f***ing boats.) The Sound was at its calmest today (thank you!!) and the trip over was breezy but easy. (I was promised dolphins on this trip down under!! " to Australia and New Zealand", they said. "Dolphins practically follow the boats." What utter bullshit. Haven't yet seen one of the miserably shy creatures yet.) Nevertheless, in spite of Flipper dissing us, we set out to walk a 2.5 metre section of the Queen Charlotte track. We made the right decision. We were gifted with beautiful flora and the odd native bird that made for a truly picturesque 90 minute hike. We got to view skyline vistas of both Mistletoe and Waterfall Bay.

There was even entertainment brought to the group by Yours Truly. For days The Husband has been a bit worried about this hike given the fact that his running shoes no longer had any soles due to the melting off that occurred at Ayers Rock. He didn't have another pair suitable for hiking, so he just made the best of it. (They are now in the trash. one less item to pack!) I kept worrying that he was going to tumble down a cliff because he had no traction. Instead I was the one who slipped down a mud-covered slope and landed right on my ass. No worries. The only thing damaged was my dignity. Temple "Sings all the Time and Won't Shut Up" choir members might have called it my "falling out of the bass section" moment. I popped right back up and yelled "I'm okay!!"

Check out this great photo of a weka, another of New Zealand's flightless birds. Kind of like the kiwi.

The moral of today's story? When in doubt remember that drinking may be great, but it's effects are temporary. Nature? Those effects last a lifetime.

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