Round the Mountain

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

'One, two, three-and-a she'll be coming, round the mountain...'

This morning was quite the opposite - not a cloud or a breeze. Akaroa looked as breathtaking as it did in the summer. Splendid.

In an attempt to make the most of the weather I decided to get up in to the hills and have a look around, soaking up as much of the awesome scenery as I could. The jaunt of choice was a track known in Akaroa as the 'Round the Mountain' track which is by far the most scenic and typically the most challenging. It's basically a loop track, which ascends right up in to the hills and passes along the summit road giving panoramic views of the Banks Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean over the other side. It was spectacular. The weather had decided to be kind too and the whole trek turned out to be a real good idea. Even the sheep were fearless and accommodating. At one point I approached a particular fluffy looking one and stood there for a few moments stroking its head and talking to it like a puppy. Its eyes moved from side to side and it seemed quite happy to hang around and get acquainted. I can't say I've ever stroked a sheep. It's an experience that's impossible to explain. Odd.

I got back just before dusk and chilled out by the van admiring the view of the harbour with a couple of cold ones. The weather was completely calm and mild, which made for a great end to the afternoon. I'd got my top up and I felt fantastic, totally fulfilled. The command of the land Aunty J?

When darkness fell I wondered up in to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Anna followed me in. She's some fat kid who's been here for a few days on holiday and had been hanging around at breakfast questioning everything I did. And everything in my possession and everything I was thinking. She's thirteen this year (which of course means that she's not twelve) and insisted on helping me prepare dinner (boiled the kettle and poured it in the pan.) As I sat down to tuck in we carried on talking and she just glared at my plate, single-mindedly focusing on my dinner the whole time we spoke. It was a little unnerving. To look at her you'd never have guessed it, but the look on her face said she hadn't stuffed herself for ages. I told her that if she was that hungry, to go and get a fork out of the box and tuck in to the other side of the plate. I blinked and the fork was clutched in her hand. I was convinced I was seeing things. We carried on talking and then I had to tell her to calm down. She'd already hacked through half of it, far quicker than I could keep up. Then she wedged a couple more fork loads in, stood up and said 'thanks for dinner' with her mouth full and started to leave. I asked her where she was going. She said that Shortland Street was on and gave a little wave as she scurried off out of the kitchen and across the grass.

To finish the bizarre evening, I polished off what was left of dinner and returned to the bench and table beside the van. It wasn't long before the couple who had parked up next to me joined me: Andrew and Forgottername. They'd just arrived from Sydney and had come over for a short holiday. It turned out to be really peaceful outside, the weather was calm and the harbour was all lit up. There wasn't a single sound or a single breeze in the air. Andrew offered me a black beer, which I gratefully accepted (I'd got more than enough room for it in my half-stuffed belly) and we chatted away the evening as we admired the view. It seems he'd been touched too, by Akaroa.
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