Today was all about...HIKING
On the 29th, I cycled through town to DOC visitor centre (Emily´s work), I knew I had to have a bit of a mooch around the local area, but it was quite late in the day. So, being the little professional she was, she told me that the best thing to do would be to walk the lake. But first, we had lunch to eat - we went back home to eat left over sushi, watched Derek, and then headed back up to DOC (I left my bike there so I could cycle home later!).
She drove us back to the DOC wildlife centre - where I met a female Paradise duck who loved clover (we fed her), some Keas, Kakas and Takahe´s (I went into their enclosure which was super cool). I then headed out for a short hike around the lake and stopped at a pebble beach area that was abundant in tussocks and drift wood. It was a beautiful day, I had never seen such amazing views in all my life. As I sat admiring the landscapes, I took a deep breath in and actually cried a little (not to sound cheesy or dramatic), it was so stunning that I cannot put it into words.
The following day, I set myself up for something far more challenging - Keplers Track to Luxmore Hut. I burrowed Sam´s Toyota and drove from DOC to the Keplers car park, armed with my rucksack, thermals and map in hand I headed towards the control gates and into the forest. As I made headway through the green haven, abundant in moss, lichens and fungi with beautiful ferns, I put in my headphones and started listening to Ben Howard.
I felt so alive and so privileged to be passing through this lush pristine wilderness.
The track followed the river, and then came to a sharp turn at Brod Bay, I then started ascending up into the mountain beech forests above. My lungs were burning and my legs aching as I persevered along some difficult terrain. At higher altitude sweat was dripping off my brow, and I continued to climb. I then came out of the beech forest and into the open, surrounded by amazing panoramic views, a majestic blanket of illuminated cloud with summits and peaks poking out everywhere. It was so quiet and peaceful, not even a gust of wind came by, I stood and gawped in amazement. Only 45 minutes to go until Luxmore Hut, I clambered on.
I walked along a wooden boardwalk for a long while, through the alpine tussocks and vegetation, still breathing in as much of the mountain air as my lungs would take. I turned sharp left and saw a wooden lodge, Luxmore Hut, and observed some hikers. I ate my vegetable pasta at 3,500 feet, above the cloud cover, overlooking the Te Anau basin.
I decided it was finally time to descend, I sprung down the mountain (much easier on the descent!), and helped myself to some mountain spring water. It took around 3 hrs to get back to the car park, and I drove away into the sunset, back to Mackinnon loop.
It was a memorable day.