Saturday, February 12, 2011
Day 17: Queen Charlotte Track, Day 2
Day 17: Queen Charlotte Track, Day 2
NZ has 15,134 km of coastline and THB and DB do another 13 kms of it today (round up? sure…) we did a bit under 15 kms today, in about 4.5 hours.
Pics: Egg cooker (the answer to the item on the table quiz question), a weka bird (the answer to the bird quiz question though THB thinks he could pawn this non-flyer off as the obscure and hard to spot Kiwi bird), and shots along the QCT (can you see the whitebreasted bird resting in the tree? It’s a woodpigeon) and the Mahana Lodge
Dinner plus drinks last night at No Road Inn came to $180, about right for the quality of food and wine and the alfresco atmosphere.
At breakfast, which we make ourselves in our room, DB answers the pictorial pop quiz question: she makes a soft-boiled egg in the machine in the picture. There are number of steps and she gets them just right, reveling in a perfectly cooked egg. And, we enjoy the last of the French Bakery sourdough, toasted, with pressed coffee (very good), granola and yoghurt.
On the QCT by 9:30, and there are far fewer hikers today because the day hikers did the first part and headed back to Picton on the water taxi yesterday afternoon. Lunch at the only picnic table for kilometers, shared with 3 other couples. THB ignores his provided sandwich (cheese? Cranberry chutney? Meat?) and dines on more hummus and apples
One of the couples is from Walnut Creek! And, the woman of the pair worked at Chiron from 1990 to 2000 in the legal department. Chiron was bought by Novartis a few years ago, and we can see the buildings out our windows in E-ville. And, thus, we know a number of people in common (Linda, do you know her?). DB tries to remember her Chiron consulting dates, and knows she didn’t start there until after 2000, so no direct overlap.
Make the Mahana Lodge in the early afternoon, greeted with splits of champagne and nuts. And, we’re in time to go kayaking. Awesome! The water is crystal clear, there’s not much wind, and the coastline from the water is much different than from the track above. We see black oystercatchers, a blue penguin (our first down under penguin, no photo because the camera is not waterproof) and some form of cormorant. The weather has been overcast for the day, so the water is not that vibrant turquoise we had the day before.
Dinner is not up to the No Road Inn standard: starters are chickpea with couscous and smoked fish on toast (very good), entrees of venison (bean-less) chili in crepes with béarnaise-like sauce on top and lamb chunks with rice, chocolate “pudding” with whipped cream for dessert and a bit-too-floral Sauvignon Blanc, all but the wine included in our package (they list their meal prices here, they total $64 for three meals). Total $27.
There are ten of us staying at the lodge, and we eat communally again, this time without the hosts joining us. Four Aussie women (real chirpers, non-stop upbeat chatting), Brits from last night, and an Oregon couple we met on the trail two days ago who stayed at a different lodge last night. Sorry, no mise-en-scene photo (hopefully mise-en-scene means either we missed taking the picture or the group in the act of eating…), just one of the table before eating.
The Oregonians have the travel-story-from-hell, which we hear a second time (first was when we met them on QCT). Started with a plane crash at the airport they were leaving from (nobody hurt, just the plane damaged) in the south of SI, many adjustments, reversals of adjustments, cars, buses, shuttles, re-routed planes, more expenses than they planned, and long nights.