I said in the last blog that we had to keep reminding ourselves not to hurry.
But our trip to Saint Arnaud was all about hurry.
We know we should have taken more time to enjoy the long and gently sloping track that made its way through thick beech forest.
We know we should have taken the time to take more photographs of the iconic Lake Rotoiti.
But there were a couple of pressing issues.
One pressing issue was the after effects of Whiona's visit to the toxic Blue Lake Hut. I'd come through relatively unscathed. Whiona had come through...how do I put this...relatively scathed?
As she made a bee line to the toilets of Lakehead Hut, a couple of hours south of Saint Arnaud, I made my way through the wasps to the front door.
As we sat eating lunch we looked out at the large beech trees in front of the hut.
Each one was alive with its own swarm of wasps. Taking our time to enjoy the great outdoors around Lake Rotoiti wasn't really on the cards. It just felt too dangerous. So we sat inside the rather gloomy hut on a lovely, sunny autumn day eating the last of our chocolate, crackers and Parmesan cheese while reading the DoC intentions book.
These books are always good for a laugh.
Mav and Goose (aka Andrew and Peter) were getting more patriotic the further north they got. Red and blue pens announce their arrival in huts with pictures of rocket ships and spangling stars.
There's often LARGE LETTERED diatribes from rabid and anonymous 1080 opponents that are usually surrounded by retorts from anonymous proponents and people who aren't homophobes.
Having said that, sometimes the diatribes aren't funny...sometimes they're obnoxious...sometimes they're threatening. There are more than a few hut books we've seen that could be useful evidence in the search for the supposed "Fonterra 1080 Eco-terrorist" too.
But back to our rush to Saint Arnaud.
After lunch we flew down the track as fast as our ailing legs and Whiona's failing boots would carry us.
By the end we were stumbling.
But we made it.
Why the rush? What was the second pressing issue?
Erm...now that I think back...I'm not too sure.
Talking to Anna later, she'd had the same urge...to rush to town.
Anna had run ahead after promising to book us into the Alpine Lodge backpackers, but when we arrived we found that she had failed. There were no backpacker beds left...only the more expensive hotel-style rooms were available.
It took about three seconds to agree to a room with sheets, TV, its own shower and its own toilet.
We picked up our drop box and were given the wine, bar tab and sugar free(!) Chocolates that had been kindly donated by our support crew*, and headed to our room.
As I walked in, the chemical reassurance of cleaning products and air freshener filled my nose.
We had showers.
I bought a newspaper and turned on the telly.
Apparently a couple of evil karaoke judges had overstepped the mark and made some poor guy from Southland cry on X-Factor.
Apparently Mr Lundy still hadn't been found guilty or innocent.
Apparently...shock horror...the Black Caps hadn't lost a game in the World Cup.
What's the world coming to?
* Support crew: Carl and Jana