Travel.P #30 – Motatapu Track

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.

William of Occam

After catching a ride with Patrick and his girlfriend Anna from Wanaka to Queenstown, we caught another ride to Arrowtown, a historic gold mining town. From there we started onto the Motatapu Track. We read about it and informed our self at the doc center about conditions and hazards. They spoke of avalanche danger, but usually they dramatize everything way too much, in our case there was zero snow and they still told us to be careful because of avalanches. So don’t be scared and use your human sense to decide if you can cross obstacles or not. What we found out though was that there were a few river crossings, and it was a bit cloudy on day one, so we thought it might flood.

After around 200 meters we crossed our first river, at that time we removed our shoes to keep them dry. The river was easy to cross at this point. It was a bit cloudy and here and there a raindrop was felt, but mostly we were completely dry. Arrowtown is a lovely little town. It still got a lot of the old gold mining town atmosphere, which is nice. From there we left on to our 4, 5 day adventure to go from here to Wanaka through the Track. After around 3 river crossings and let say 50 minutes walk, we walked up a mountain on a 4 wheel track away from the river. Because Lorna is so ‘talented’ and has good a good sense for faulty navigation we decided together to go left and through that decision we chose our faith and the adventure started.

The way to the right was a 4 wheel track continuing all the way to Maze town, a ghost town and an old gold miners town. Our first destination. But because we went left, down to the river we started with a river crossing after river crossing. We saw even an old mine, that was cool. The river was freezing cold, but never hip deep and not fast, until we ended up at a narrow fast flowing bit, where even I put my shoes on, after trying first without, to not be swept away and have better stability. Crossing together, well I guess I am not the best partner for river crossings, because I look more after myself than after little Lorna, haha sorreey, we made it to the other side, and also realized that there is no 4 wheel drive anymore, but it was described that the 4 wheel drive continues all the way to Maze town.

Well, until there and in general all the way was apparently possible without a single crossing thanks to bridges and the other route. But since we were on this track we continued, following a big water pipe, that was leaking here and there and sprinkling over the river, next to it. The forest became deeper and deeper and the river steeper and more canyon like. The stream was strong, narrow, fast and loud, but beautiful and impressive.

At one point we joked about crossing the river over a pipe, there was also a destroyed bye tree-falls rail, on a pipe but we crossed the river and 5 minutes later found is climbing over rocks and bolder, scouting out the area until we realized that the next bit was really to be crossed bye the pipe. The rail was working great, but there was a leak in the pipe that made it slippery and under neath us was the loud gorge. Water smashing on smooth big, grey boulders and foaming in white pools, that look lovely and inviting when the sun comes out. It is funny how fast we change our mind of water, deepening on the sun.

Once we crossed safe, we had to climb a final steep bit on rocks, bushes and the pipe.
Just next to the gorge that became more like a big waterfall. Water non stop rushing down the mountain. Once we climbed the top we saw the pipe starts there, at a small dam, just before the beginning of the waterfall. And to our massive surprise the way became wide, we crossed the 4 wheel drive. We realized there that we chose the hard way, with that we had a ruff time and a adventurous and funny time. We continued on the way for around 15 minuted. It was flat again, and the river calm. We had our lunch there, and continued from there again with a few crossings, that we wouldn’t have to do, due to bridges that we crossed later. The track continued up the hill, and we could listen to the river from above and observe the beautiful scenery. Golden mountains around us forming beautiful valleys, through that we walked.

Later on we walked down to the river again and crossed a few more times the river, so that we ended up with around 25 crossings.

When we arrived at Mazetown, we realized it was to late to reach the first hut, so we build a shelter, made a fire to dry our shoes carefully and keep us nice and warm. From there we went straight to bed, it rained a bit but the shelter under the tree kept us out of the wind and we could cuddle up and fall into a deep sleep. I never felt my feed being so sensitive in a nice way. I went to sleep and could tell, that they will love some rest. It exited me. It wasn’t hard, but I walked a lot barefoot, that must have been nice and exhausting for my feet.

The next morning we woke up, the night was cloudy and cold, but sometimes the clouds made way for some beautiful stars. We left our camp and continued on our track. All the way along the river, but this time we chose the route along the mountain, because we had enough of rivercrossings and wet feet, and we didn’t want to climb the mountain with wet shoes. The day was beautiful and sunny so that we even went for a smalls swim, before we left the river left to us and hiked up the mountain to our right. After the refreshing ice cold swim, we were covered in tiny shiny elements that were in the water and climbed the mountain. The track before was beautiful, exept the thorn bushes, but even those are kind of nice, scratching aling your legs and arms. In the middle of the mountain we made a short active break and continued to the top, from where ascended with heavy, exhausted legs. The second day was different challenging then the first day. A lot of climb and ascend in the final art of the day. We arrived at the hut at sunset, made dinner, juggeled a bit and cuddled up. The hut was just to us, like the whole track. We met no one. Lovely. Good we stretched and recovered a bit. Cooling our feet in the small ice cold creek next to the hut. For me to see the hut, is always kind of a relieve, even if the track is beautiful and it is a lot of fun. After a long hike it is always lovely to sleep in a small hut.

The next day started in disaster for Lorna. Her feet were blistered and her shoes made her hiking not fun. The terrain of the mountains that we climbed that day were already exhausting for me, without blisters. I tried to take as much weight of Lorna and she continued. I still don’t know how, it is possible to ignore that amount of pain, haha. But more to that day, how we got attacked by birds, beautiful shady forest bits and long hard climbs, rewarded by beautiful views to even the lake of Wanaka. About my first real earthquake in the mountains, and great views of the toilet at the next hut, haha.

Here I am. Home. At my family with my bros. Felix is recovering from another knee operation and Max is close to his graduation, learning while being hangover from the nights with his friends. We just hat a potluck and all my friends came over. It was great to see everyone again. Soon I have to leave, but for now I enjoy every moment here.

Get out of your house and sit on a bench in a quiet park or forest. Have a break.

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