Nelson Lakes

My feet hurt. They hurt real bad. I’ve just returned from four days of plodding up mountainsides, scrambling along ridges, sliding down scree, mucking through swamps, and so forth in what will almost certainly be my penultimate New Zealand adventure. And ‘twas a worthy finale indeed, aside from all these damnable blisters.

I didn’t end up doing the Travers-Sabine Circuit. Fate, as is her wont, threw me several curveballs before, during, and after the tramp – and I was forced to tweak the master plan until it scarcely resembled my original vision. But (perhaps uncharacteristically) I didn’t let this bother me. On the contrary, I’m quite pleased that everything turned out just as it did.

Nikki and I decided that four days and some change would be a fair allotment of vacation time – just enough for a sprint through the whole Circuit, given ideal conditions. But as my departure date wended nearer, that wily Chinese monk people sometimes refer to as Reality suddenly asserted himself. Thick clouds rolled in off the Tasman and the rains came tumbling down. Conditions would be anything but ideal. I reigned in my imagination and settled on a shorter circuit from Saint Arnaud up the Paddy Track to Bushline Hut, then across the Robert Ridge to Angelus Hut and back down on the Cascade Track. This’d give me one spare day to hole up given lousy weather or track flooding. And if conditions looked good, I’d have the flexibility to slow down and take a side trek from Angelus Hut to Sunset Saddle and the (in)famous alpine route up Mount Hopeless.

Around the same time that my plans began to metamorphose, a radiant German juggler and acrobat named Katharina arrived at Jugglers’ Rest and quietly checked in. We struck up a conversation about tramping, and suddenly going to Nelson Lakes alone began to lose its appeal. When I departed for Saint Arnaud a few days later, Katharina came with me. Her companionship made an already fantastic tramp infinitely better.

This will probably be my last post here before returning to America. As such, I’d much rather tell y’all more about this adventure in person than peck it out on the keyboard. So you’ll simply have to wait – but trust me, it’ll be worthwhile.

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~ by Jack on December 20, 2007.

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