This is installment number 2!
This week I have been superwoman!
We arrived at the Park hostel in National Park and it is definately the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in ....EVER! All the dorms were ensuit with fridges, soft linen on the beds, a roaring fire in the lounge and a hot tub. Lovely. By the time I had arrived another 6 people had decided they were going to join me on a 3 day kayak trip down the Whanganui River 88km in total!
Dave, Paul, Sebastian, James, Jenna, Viv and myself were picked up and driven in to the back of beyond where we were given 3 canoes and a kayak along with some barrels to keep all our stuff dry should we capsize. Steve gave us a brief lesson in how to steer then we launched our vessels and immediately forgot what he said. I was in a canoe with Jenna and we had a lovely time singing various songs as we paddled along. It is so peaceful on the river we could have been the only 7 people in the world. We arrived at the first hut and found it was being guarded by what appeared to be 'the hut hitler!', who wanted to make it as difficult as possible for us to get in despite there being plenty of room. Naked girl was there though! Viv was disappointed to learn that there were no showers. I was quite looking forward to not showering for a few days...I know its wrong but its true!
Day 2 Jenna and Dave mad Banana Pancakes for breakfast after we had been singing the Jack Hohnson song by the same name the night before. Today I realised that I was old enough to be James' mother (he is 17)which was a bit depressing! At lunch we went for a walk to the Bridge to Nowhere, which is a bridge that leads, well, nowhere! Afterwards Dave and Paul got a bit cocky and ended up capsizing! All Dave was worried about was his lip salve?? Jenna and I immediately dived .......into the bags and got the cameras out. Turns out the barrels....not so waterproof! When we got to the second cabin we lit a fire and hung all the lads wet clothes out in the hope that they would dry before morning. Unfortunately Dave put 'the best socks he ever owned' too close to the fire and they melted, now the best ankle warmers he has ever owned.
On day 3 Dave was particularly optimistic about his wet clothes 'They will be dry and ironed, the laundry maori will have been'. Sadly the laundry maori must have been having a day off but we managed to find them some dry clothes to wear. Today was the day with the worst rapids and I was quite nervous whether Jenna and I would make it through. After taking pictures of the boys in their hour of need I wasn't sure that we could rely on them if we did go in. After about an hour of paddling we went through some really shallow rapids and ended up getting the boat stuck. Jenna and I tried scooting the canoe forward with our bums and using the paddles but in the end I had to get out to dislodge us. My trainers had their first wash! Actually the rapids weren't the problem the wind was! Jenna and I had got left behind by the others who couldn't stop as the wind would blow them back up stream. We seemed to have lost the ability to steer and spent the best part of paddling backwards and forwards from one bank to the other. Never have I been so glad to see the finish point but the trip was still the best thing I have done here and I couldn't have done it with a nicer group.
As if that wasn't enough punishment the day after Sebastian, Jenna and myself did the Tongariro crossing, a 17k hike over a dormant or extinct volcanoe (one that isn't about to errupt anyway). I had hired some waterproof overtrousers that made me look like I was wearing a shell suit....its a good look! It was pretty hard work on the way up what is affectionately called the Devils Staircase and I wasn't sure that 8 hours would be enough! The views were spectacular and we could even see Mount Taranaki on the west coast. There was still snow at the top which made the Emerald Lakes look even more green. In the end we finished it in 7 hours tired but happy that we had done it.
Tomorrow a day of rest!