Ron slept on the porch last night and met his first possum.
I woke to him flashing his torch around while trying to take photos. It was about 3 in the morning but we were having a good night's sleep so it didn't matter...Whiona on the top bunk. Me on the bottom. On opposite sides of the room.
After breakfast we said our seeyas and walked up and over the first rise of the day then, down to a creek.
The mountain that stood before us was a similar size to yesterday's behemoths but it was the only one. It was also cloudy and cool...we were in for a good day.
100 metres up and we got stuck. For an hour.
The delay wasn't caused by geology. We met three pairs of TeA Sobos at 20 minute intervals and just had to stop and talk.
An English couple and four, yes four Kiwis.
Subjects discussed: the Scottish referendum as well as my Sports Kilt. How cutting your hair off for cancer makes people think you're a lesbian - if you're a woman that is. The Auckland Super City. Going back to Napier and going on the dole.
At the top of the megamound I had an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia...on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I just had to get out of my harness and dripping shirt. I ripped my pack then my shirt off losing, my sunglasses in the process. That'll teach me...drama queen.
You could say I was responding to something primal...or just think I was being a bit creepy...but the topless walk down to Fern Burn Hut in the mist was BRILLIANT.
We saw a report in the paper the other day about a naked tramper seen near Wanaka. I wasn't about to get totally Billy Connolly up there but can see the attraction.
Hmmmm. Perhaps attraction isn't the right word to use...
The two American Sobos we squeezed past just before the hut didn't seem to mind anyway.
We last visited Fern Burn Hut about two years ago.
It was full of young TeA walkers - most of whom had started from Cape Reinga.
If cleanliness is next to godliness we'd just walked into the annual general meeting of the Central Otago Satanist Society.
The stench was unbearable. The place smelt like the Las Vegas Bariatric Mortuary after a six week power cut. We had strolled up to the hut after an air conditioned car drive from Wanaka feeling a bit tired but ready for some hut talk.
We got some but the aura of the room was insular and strangely desperate. Gaunt heads ate tragic food. Food designed for one thing...energy.
We watched as a couple of the walkers bought out a bag of chocolate chips and sprinkled them onto tortilla wraps. They ate in silence.
We didn't quite get it then but understand their state of mind now. As we readied ourselves for this trip we swore that we'd eat well and wash once a day. Somehow.
We didn't stay at Fern Burn Hut this time but noticed the place had a pretty funky odour as we sat down for a cup of tea on our way through to the end of the Mototapu section of the trail.
It had been short. It wasn't as spectacular as Mavora Lakes. But looking back as we lie in our Electricity Department-issue single man's quarters on the edge of Lake Wanaka...I think we really enjoyed it.
Type 2 Fun.
P.S. thanks Eileen and Mutt Lange for seeing some value in the place. We hope it remains accessible to all of us for as long as you (Mutt) keep it. Oh...and you might want to send someone out to clear and reset those stoat traps. They're pretty chocka.