Walking up Mt John

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Friday, December 16, 2005

I'd timed my trip to Mt Cook to perfection, as if I'd have arrived 2 days later, then I wouldn't have seen a thing. Jens and me kept looking out of the window and saying how lucky we'd been - all you could see now were clouds! We therefore hung around the hostel on Tuesday morning, discussing the prospect of England and Germany meeting at next years World Cup!

The bus picked us up at 1.30pm and we sat together at the front, so we got a great view of the 5000 sheep who were in the middle of the road, near Lake Pukaki. Jens was going to Christchurch, whereas I was just travelling an hour up the road to Lake Tekapo. On arrival, we said goodbye and I made my way to the YHA, working up a bit of a sweat as it was red hot.

I was just having the one night in Tekapo as it's really quiet, but it was definitely worth stopping because there are numerous short walks in the area. I picked up a leaflet from the Information Centre, and chose to do a walk to the summit of Mt John that returned via the lakefront. It sounded ideal, and even though my legs were still aching a bit, I set off walking at 3.30pm.

It took about an hour to reach the summit, and it was pretty steep (although not in the Meuller Hut's league!). You were rewarded at the top with aerial views of the lake's turquoise water and the surrounding mountains, although it was a little cloudy in the distance.

The walk back down the other side involved a gradual descent, and it was lovely and peaceful. There were plenty of sheep milling around, but I didn't see another person for the next hour and a half. Again I made plenty of stops along the lake as I was in no rush to get back...it doesn't get dark until 9.30pm.

I treated myself to a burger and chips after completing the walk, and ate them looking out over the lake. I remembered that I still had a packet of biscuits in my bag from the walks in Mt Cook, so I very generously gave most of them to the ducks who were on the beach. A nice little walk to an historic church followed, before I finally meandered back to the hostel at 8pm.

I was sharing my room with a chirpy Irish guy called Eamon, and when he offered me a beer, I wasn't about to refuse. We ended up playing scrabble with a couple of Swedish girls and an English woman, and I'm pleased to announce that I won...it would have been embarassing to lose to some foreigners!

The rest of the evening was spent debating with a 67 year old character from England who was camping outside with his wife. Out of the blue, he would ask provocative questions like "Should they bring back the Death Penalty?" Eamon and me would usually reply light heartedly, not taking the bait. Later on, the old man asked "If I make a parallelogram out of a rectangle, will the area change or stay the same? Much debate later, especially from a different guy who'd overheard the discussion, we decided that...we didn't really care!

I had to play my Josh Rouse minidisc at full blast that night to drown out a German guy's snoring, but I got about 7 hours sleep before I rose at 8am. I had a few hours to kill before the bus picked me up, so I went and sat near the lake and got up to date with this here journal...it had been a busy few days since arriving back from Australia!

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