Some days when you wake up you just don't have The Love.
Today was one of those days for us.
We said goodbye to our new friends then followed Anna as she bounded up one of three mountains she would be tackling that day on her way out to Wanaka.
We were only going up and over two of those mountains, but that was more than enough for us. (We weren't going to the top but would be making the trip most of the way there.)
The day started off cool but the near vertical trail had us drenched in sweat after a hundred metres.
This was not fun. This was Type 3 Fun. (See yesterday's blog post)
Skinks and grasshoppers avoided our plodding feet. The sun beat down.
On the front page of the website you're reading is a picture of Whiona walking up Mount Tunupo in the Ruahines. This is Type 2 Fun.
Not because it's any gentler than today's ascent, but because you generally only do it once in a day.
The other thing about Mount Tunupo that makes all the exertion bearable is that it doesn't have a road running along beside it reminding you that there is a much easier way of getting to your destination than the several hundred metres of near vertical backcountry hell you're on.
The Motutapu trail is more of a tramping park than a mountain range. It's not really a way of getting anywhere efficiently.
At least that's how we felt on this day. A day without any TeA Love.
Something good did happen at the top of our first climb though. We were checked out by yet another Kerearea. It had chased a group of worried Swallows up the rise but to the little birds' relief it got distracted by us. It was so close we could see the glint in its eye as it circled.
A steep descent to a stream that flowed through one of very few stands of beech in the area and we had lunch in the shade.
Our mood didn't lift.
Whiona was feeling despondent...surely we should be trail-fit by now. The heat and steepness were taking their toll.
We have a method of walking up big hills and mountains.
I know it sounds like the name of a Jethro Tull album, but I call it Tortoise Gearing.
Pick a slow tempo and take one deep breath for every step you take up. No matter what happens keep to the same tempo. If the track temporarily levels off - keep the beat. This is when you'll get some oxygen in the bank. If you stumble keep the beat - don't try to squeeze in an extra step.
You can rest when and as often as you like, but if you find that you're resting more and more...just...slow...the...tempo.
You will soon find yourself at the top of your hill, mountain or skyscraper.
Slow, steady and rhythmic. It won't win you any races but will get you there through the simple act of hyperventilation.
This is what we did.
As we hit the top of our second mountain one of my favorite songs started playing and we saw Florin hitting the top on the other side of the pass.
Florin, a South Island Sobo from Germany, has just finished his Computer Science qualifications and doesn't have a Facebook account. He gets most of his track tips as he goes...the TeA Facebook page would've been handy a couple of times he reckoned, but he'd managed without.
The drop down to the hut was steep but stunning. The rock formations here are like those old Chinese landscape paintings. Jagged. Sculpted. Grey.
Another Kerearea waited for us on a marker pole. I got to within 15 feet of it before it swooped down the mountain.
Good Things Happen at the End of a Hard Day: Number 2
As we approached the hut there was Ron. Cutting steps into the steep path up to the hut with a waratah. He had injured his foot so had taken the day off.
After tea he played his guitar and sang. Slim Dusty. Jim Reeves. Johnny Cash. And more...
Contentment Rating: 9.9