Still in Wanaka, still in love with it ❤
Here’s a little dip into the last week!
We are lucky enough to be hanging out in a town that sits at the bottom of a beautiful chain of mountains. One afternoon early in the week we hiked Mount Iron with our lovely Brit WWOOFer Christie. The hike was about 2 hours but very rewarding when we got to the top and had a 360 view of the lakes and surrounding mountains! We did this hike mid afternoon so all of us got a little rosey from the sun… not to mention we were sweating buckets (ladylike I know).
Another morning we committed ourselves to do the Rocky Mountain hike – we woke up with the sun, packed a few snacks and headed onto the track early to beat the sun and the crowd! It was definitely a challenging hike but only about an hour and a half to the top and a stunning view of lake Wanaka. Once we reached the summit we inhaled some apples and trail mix before returning by mid morning to spend the afternoon with Jeff.
Jeff is such an amazing guy.. he’s really just golden and beyond generous. On Monday (Day..167) he took us on an adventure drive through small towns the he loves including Cromwell, Clyde, Alexandra, and Omakau. We stopped twice for cappuccinos in adorable little cafes with interesting histories and a hotel bar for some sammies in the sunshine. We drove over mountains and through valleys and I could just see the joy that it brought to Jeff to enjoy some time out of the house. Jeff has a condition in legs and lower back – I’m still not sure exactly what it’s called but I believe it struck him when he was 68. This condition has challenged Jeff with his walking ability and the nerves that run from his lower back down through his legs. Up until Tuesday Jeffs legs were feeling really great… we were going to the local gym and Jeff would bike while I swam laps in the pool nearby… but yesterday Rachel and I could both tell that Jeff was having a hard time with his legs. It’s incredibly hard to see someone so frustrated and know that there isn’t much you can do but try and be supportive and positive and make every effort you can to make things easier. On Thursday his legs were still feeling crumby but Rach and I were determined to refuel his positivity tank. We originally planned to just take Jeff for a drink in town to change it up from the usual 5pm cheese and cracker snack, but there happens to be a massive triathlon in town right now and everywhere is insanely busy. As we were cruising down the main street Jeff suggested we check out a cafe/bar/hotel he knew about that was a 20 min drive away. Keen to adventure we obliged and ended up at this adorable beer garden at the bottom of Mount Cadrona (better known in ski season). We cheers-ed some beers over some delicious potato wedges and I could already see even though his legs were still bothering him he was in a better mood.
For dinner we had sausages, haloumi cheese, a big green salad and shared a bottle of red and great conversation as we watched the sun go down. Having this time with Jeff bring a whole new meaning to being thankful and lucky. I often take my mobility for granted.. to see Jeff cope, even on the hard days, with a smile and a sense of humour really brings you down to Earth. It’s easy for me to be grateful for having the ability to travel and experience everything I have so far (which I am) but it’s really easy to loose sight and forget that just having the freedom to walk where you want, to lift things, to move around without a second thought… that’s something to be grateful for.
The rest of this week is very exciting because Rachel and I are catching up with a bunch of friends that we have made in New Zealand so far from other WWOOFs and a few Whistler friend’s of Rachel’s. Today was particularity lovely because we got to hike the infamous Roy’s Peak with Michael, a WWOOF friend from Hokitika and our Brit gal Christie !
This was really a tough hike. The whole hike in its entirety took about 6 hours. The way up is basically all switchbacks through fields of shrub and grasses. There is zero shade so you’ve got to prepare for the sunshine to be kissing your skin ALL day and drink lots of water…. which means when you have to wee in the ‘bush’ after drinking all that water you’re basically in sight of all hikers. Good thing I had great friends to keep watch and give warnings to those passing by! It was a rather bland hike to get to the top but once you got around that last switchback, the view opens up and you have a little path along a ridge where Lake Wanaka, the Rob Roy Glacier, and Mount Aspiring are waiting for you. When I got here I swear I don’t know if I was winded because of the view or because I was pooched from the walk up. But I can tell you one thing, nothing was wiping the smile off my face. This was worth the view and more. I was so lovestruck and giddy standing there in front of this stunning view, even Michael said “Hey Nic, is it Christmas morning for you or what?”
We all took the classic photos of us with our arms up as we stood on the ridge (see above) and enjoyed some snacks. There was a path that went even higher so of course already being 2/3 of the way there we kept on going. When we got to this summit I basically just dropped to the ground and sat down to take in the view. It was high and I was weak-in-the-knees in love. We sat up at this top peak for a good half hour. I got stung by a pissed off wasp and felt my skin sizzling a bit from the sun but it was worth it.
We had heard some friends of ours from our Fruit Vans WWOOF were in town and were pleasantly surprised when our friends Mathieu from France and Stephan from Austria came around the bend! We caught each other up on our adventures since we departed from Kati Kati in front of the grandiose snow capped beasts that surrounded us until we couldn’t take the sun anymore. We said goodbye with promises to meet up at some point later in the week and made our way down the mountain. I have learned based on all these hikes that I would much rather go up twice then hike down once.. it’s hard on your knees. The hike down seemed to take a very long time and Christie’s car, Molly, was just a sauna by the time we reached her. We got back to the house around 2pm, said hi to Jeff, updated our social media with a few pics (guilty) and then went into town to a recommended ice cream shop from our friends Dimitri and Pauline. I had Fig & Pistachio flavour.. I really don’t like figs at all but this was just fabulously intriguing and ended up being delicious! Christie went to meet up with her friend so Michael, Rachel and I stayed and chatted away until 5pm when we had to return to Jeff for snack!