Travel.P #31 – Motatapu Track, last leg

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

New England proverb

Warm and snuggled up, resisting against the cold and having the feeling to stay for ever in that sleeping bag, we woke up in the lovely ,sheltering hut. After tea and breakfast outside on the porch, we acclimated to the cold and made our move towards the next mountain. Jumping over stones in a river we begun our walk up the first mountain. After a short time Lorna complained about pain at her feet, we removed the shoes and already a blister was formed around the heel of her foot. The shoes were good shoes, but the shoes were small shoes as well. Not the right size and after a few days hiking, even a small pressure point might turn out as a blister. We taped around and over the blister(s) and after around 5 breaks and improving our tape layout, Lorna pressed her teeth together and continued on the hike. Once we reached the top we walked along a ridge from where Cardrona was visible and the peaceful, green valley, crossed by a small river next to it. From there we had to descend again, to nearly the starting level to ascend afterwards even higher. On our descend facing the valley we were attacked by breeding birds, but survived without any losses. It felt like a small jet is flying close to your head.

stunning views on a photo

Because Lorna was about to get a sunburn on her head we figured out a way how boxers can be tightened as a hat that will spend shade and cool her off after wetting it in a cold river. The weather from our second day on was amazing. It was hot and sunny. If we wouldn’t have the chance to soak up or shirts in cold rivers it might have been to hot. We had a small lunch break at the bottom of the valley, before our next ascend.

Surrounded by beautiful trees in a small forest bit we sat down and made wraps with tuna, veggies and eggs. It was nice and cold in the rain and we cooled our feet in the small gorge next to us. It felt like jumping in a lake of ice on a hot summer day. The feet instantly flooded with blood and recovered slowly from the stress before. Cooling your feet is always one of the sensation spikes on a hike. Once 4 feet were covered with cold water we started playing a bit around. Then after a recovering break we continued on our last climb of the day. That one was even worst than the first one but again worth it, rewarded with beautiful views from the top. The steepness was hard and exhausting and it took us quite a while to reach the track around a hundred meters under the ridge of the mountain. From there we had a great view to the west, all over the valley and white mountain tops close to the west coast. Apparently we were able to make some great”rolypolys” down the mountain, but left it to our fantasy. When we went towards an up and down bit east wards, we had a great view on the lake. Because we expected the hut earlier the last bit seemed to stretch itself, but even that stretch ended with a last test for the upper legs on a descent and another climb to catch the last sun rays. From there we jumped over a small river and reached the empty hut. It was build in between smaller mountains and 360 degrees surrounded by mountains.

proud owner of a hut… for a night

The hut was great and a welcoming home for a night. The toilet poo was accompanied by the milky way and a few shooting stars, if you were lucky. The nights was calm and cold until I was waken up by a loud noise. It sounded like a massive train is just coming closer and closer, and when I say massive I mean massive. It was loud. But still not loud enough to wake Lorna up. I guess she even would have slept through a plane crash. I tried to gently wake her but she missed the shaking and noise of the earthquake and slept through the night. The cool thing about the earthquake was that we were surrounded by mountains, the hut was so to say placed close to the fold line. It all felt unreal the next morning but I still remember very well till the day.

Waking up short after the sun, we left the hut after the first sun rays reached us. The finale bit. The last big climb. After a few up and downs and a last small river crossing we started climbing the saddle. It felt like I had adapted to the conditions and took more and more weight off Lorna into my backpack. Climbing is physics and psyche. In my case my head has to be empty, it’s switched off, nothing between me and the climb, a flow state. Once I reach that flow, there is no stopping. One foot in front of the other. It is a lot less exhausting for me, an amazing feeling.

It was maybe a small saddle in relation to the climb of other people, but for me, after the other days it was big and once we arrived together at the top we were naked, worn out and happy.

From there we continued after a short break to enjoy the view and celebrate us, to continue over an up an down to the next hut, where we had another beautiful break at the river, and met the first other people on our journey. From there we went all along the river through forest bits, shaded and beautiful. Boulders smooth polished by millions of years and a track covered in leaves through a seemingly healthy forest with beautiful shaped trees. If we wouldn’t have met other people and signs it would have looked magic, sun shooting through leaf lacks in the crown of the trees onto the healthy forest ground.

Beautiful forest bit

Lorna couldn’t enjoy the magic as I did, because her feet were in too much pain, and for walking barefoot, like me, her feet were too weak, haha poor Lorna.

Once we left the last flat bits of the track, accompanied by flat grass bits with cows and sheep, we reached the street and just missed the opportunity to get a ride into town, or to the main street, that was another 2 km further walk over gravel road exposed to the heat. This bit gave us the rest and a sunburn but as soon as we hit the road, two climbers picked us up and gave us a ride to Mufi, Lornas and Kates car, parked in town. We made it.

For me the Motatapu track was the longest and hardest track in my life so far and it was worth every bit of pain and every bit of climb. In my opinion wandering is one thing, but stopping and taking your time to actually enjoy things, like a swim in a river, an hour at the top of a mountain with beautiful views, animals, smells and noises. Yes even enjoy the pain, enjoy the fight with the mountain, enjoy helping each other, enjoy being together, enjoy being separate. Now I am already looking forward to a new hike, a new challenge with different views and different conditions.

Here I am, Lyon Gare Perrache with a free to play piano in the rest area, just when a guy in a hooded grey sweater arrived and played absolutely great. Instruments are amazing. How they can move you into emotional areas that make you happy or sad, just by the sound. But this guy seems to be born with a piano, he plays like he is at war, his full body is merged with huge movements to very calm movements. I was here a week ago and will go home for another few weeks, to join me friends on our new beautiful boat ‘Ratatouille”, a big sailing ship, with an even bigger amount of work. But I am looking forward to it! Why I am going back home? Because the transport business send a completely wrong trailer and completely ignored other laws and facts we texted them. So we had to pay a big amount of money for the crane and now maybe get our money back trough the law, since the transport company is ignoring our demands.

Put some nice tunes on and just dance all the pain and pressure away. Dance until you are exhausted, dance how you want to dance, move how you want to move.

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