Day 21-23: Wanaka

Sun 12 – Tue 14 February 2017

  • Total Km: 24
  • Total Km: 393

A nice slow start to the day today, a little sleep in was appreciated after the early rising of the last days. The sun was out but never quite took the edge off the wind that blows all day. Today was devoted to blogging, to catch up on the last days of the Motatapu track. It really takes a long time to plan and administer the blog. More than I thought it would. The writing flows easily however after days on end the little ole memory can forget some of the moments that made the journey what it is. I take and use the photos as reminders of what happened, the views and to trigger flash backs. And then it all comes together- slowly but surely I get there in the end. I think what I need to do is get a bigger power bank as my little cheapie from the warehouse just isn’t cutting the mustard, so to speak. It will only charge my phone once and then it too needs to be recharged. I was grilling other TA’s about their power banks which were all 10,000-13,000mAh units. Mine by comparison is 4,400mAh. The larger ones are heavier which obviously adds weight to my pack, however this is outweighed I feel by the facility to write up my blog each night and then post them when I get WiFi. It would save precious time instead of spending a day or longer writing blog posts.

Eventually by 1700 I was caught up with blog posting, so we went down to Lake Wanaka for a walk along the lake edge and to see the eels. Shame, but it was so murky the slippery little devils couldn’t be seen. But rather than dwell on the non eel event we used the opportunity to cross the road for some gelato – delicious.

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Me, Emma, Lucia and Daisy the corgi (photo shy)

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It rained during the early hours of Monday morning. The mountains on which I had been walking days ago are covered in snow and I am so grateful to be finished. The Motatapu track would be dangerous in these conditions. The sidings would be wet and treacherous plus the possibility of being in snow is not the weather conditions that I expected to be in, nor would choose to be in on this ‘summer’ walk.

Today is Emma’s birthday (a lady never reveals her age). I have been chomping at the bit to get some walking in (what is happening to me..?) and took a stroll into town to get a birthday card and present for Emma. I would like to walk up Mount Iron but the rain comes down steady and heavy in the afternoon. Instead the day has been spent proposing the next part of the journey. Tonight we had a delicious birthday dinner with Joy and Murray. It was a real treat to see them again after so many years.

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Tuesday opened with a beautiful morning. The rain has moved on revealing fresh snow on the mountains and it makes for the most mesmerising scenery to enjoy. It reminds me of just how beautiful our country is. You can never under appreciate it.

Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon are in town filming a Disney movie. Reese was spotted in a local cafe yesterday so like a shot I was in town drinking coffee in all the cafes I could find… After all her movie ‘Wild’ was about walking the PCT – I mean we are virtually buddies already ole Reesee and me… Okay, actually I was in town to purchase some trail shoes as my Lowa boots have served me well on the mountainous tracks from Bluff so far but they would kill my feet on the next 500 kms of rail trail terrain, which is predominantly compact gravel and mostly flat. My tramping boots would be overkill for this type of walking. There are three stores in Wanaka which have outdoor equipment so I visited them all and eventually settled on a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX at the MT Outdoors store. I have seen so many TA’s in similar shoes, they are lightweight and designed for trail running. I won’t be running but they will do the trick. GTX stands for Goretex so they are somewhat waterproof but this also means if they get filled with water, it won’t escape through the fabric like the non-Goretex would. It this does happen and they get wet through, I will just have to empty the water out. No probs

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Once home I set up the tent on the lawn to dry out (since the Macetown camping) and inflated my sleeping mat to dry out as well in the sun. I donned my new shoes and set off for a walk. I want to get some kms under my belt whilst in Wanaka. I emptied out anything that was unnecessary from my pack and took that too. The entrance to Mount Iron is not far from Emma’s place. It is a gentle climb to the top and the views encourage frequent stops along the way. Once on the summit you are rewarded with sweeping 360 degree views and there are excellent pictorial signage boards so you know what you are looking at. Did you know that Wanaka was called Pembroke until 1940? Wiki doesn’t say why it was changed… However I had wondered why my phone was displaying Pembroke for the weather app. The boards displayed information on the geology, flora, Maori and European history of Wanaka. Thousands of years ago Mount Iron was sitting underneath a kilometre of glacial ice.

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I got a wee bit lost on the way back down the mountain, going off trail doesn’t help, however google maps and my Gaia GPS soon had me back on track and heading for the lake outlet where the trail leads around the lake front and back into Wanaka township. There are housing developments taking shape in a big way on this side of Wanaka and it is easy to see the appeal when the views are so extraordinary. It is a very enjoyable walk around the lake front, the scenery changes continually and easily gives a feeling of euphoria. The cycle trail follows the lake beaches and passes gorgeous homes, possibly many holiday homes, before arriving in the main street.

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