Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 18: Queen Charlotte Track, Day 3

Day 18: Queen Charlotte Track, Day 3

NZ has 15,134 km of coastline and THB and DB do another 12-14 kms of it today (round up? sure…) we did a bit under 20 kms today, in about 4.5 hours.

Pics: Orange mushrooms along the hike, views along the hike and from the summit, TBH and DB at the summit

Breakfast in a communal area, way too much conversation (WAY TOO MUCH) for THB this early in the morning. French-pressed coffee and toast, muesli, fruit.

We’re spending a second night at the Mahana, because our original destination, Craglee Lodge, fell over. That’s Kiwi for went bust – in this case, a fight between the operators and their landlords. We hear that they operators left the place unlocked and taxi’d out to Picton.

Thus, today is an up and back hike. We head straight uphill for 2.5 hours. Yes, we could have stayed around the Mahana….Noooooooo, we opt for the day hike.

Okay, it is not quite that long uphill, there had to be a few moments of downhill, maybe one or two, maybe just one or a partial downhill for 20 or 30 seconds. All to get to a lookout (and to a lunch spot) that provides views of both sides of the peninsula, farms, the Sound, and forests. The name of the lookout: Eatwell (hmmmmmm…a good concession stand up there? Chips in a bowl? Maybe a brewski or two?).

The hiking weather is very pleasant except for the last 15 meters (straight up a chute, steeper than a black diamond ski slope) when, as we approach the lookout and picnic table, we end up in the clouds and occasional rain. Out come the jackets, the towel to wipe the bench, and our lunches, which are excellent: ham and cheese sandwiches, apple and cinnamon muffins, and chocolates. Oh, and the periodic (the two or possibly three times we see anything) vistas (say, less than 3 seconds) are very pretty (we think, we’re not sure). We hang around for over a half hour, chatting up the Brits (we are hiking on the same schedule as they are from lodge to lodge, and they’ve also decided to do this day hike), finally conceding to the weather and carefully skidding down the now-wet chute, probably above a black diamond rating now. And, no sign of anything resembling eatwell, drinkwell, softiewell, etc.

Back to the Mahana in around 2 hours. During the 4.5 hours on the hike today we have seen: the Brits on our same schedule, seven mountain bikers (they are allowed on this part of the QTC after February 1; 5 of the seven bikers are fortunately walking their bikes when we see them), 3 backpackers, and three daytrippers. That’s it…not too crowded.

Today both THB and DB take a refreshing dip in the Sound…brilliant!

Dinner of smoked fish (done locally by John, the proprietor, very good again tonight), chicken and mushroom pie (hopefully not the mushrooms spotted on the QTC), ravioli, pudding (dessert? sweets?), and wine and beer for a total of $16.

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