I wasn’t expecting that! (Day 109)
Wow! The area around Mount Cook really is amazing. This morning we did our own thing, and there were a couple of things that I really wasn't expecting!
At the beginning of my walk, I started chatting to a very nice couple from Japan. The lady is a retired English teacher and her husband is a Professor of Physics. They were intrigued about our travels and they recommended places in Japan for us. As they sensed I was walking quicker than them (yes I know, unbelievable!) we went on our separate ways.
The views were spectacular, glaciers parked in the crevices of the mountains, alpine vegetation with the occasional tiny flower. The river was thundering down the ravine and I had great views of it as I bounced across the 3 swing bridges.
Up ahead I could see a group of Japanese tourists with a guide slowly walking along the path. As I passed I said “And here is the rare species of the orange coated human”. I just had to say it. The Japanese guide translated and there a chorus of laughter. (Tim reckons she just told them to laugh loudly as here was some nutter from England). I’m amazed they all didn’t get their camera out or perhaps they did as I walked on by.
At last I reached the Hooker Lake. Oh my, I wasn’t expecting that. There on the large grey lake with choppy waves were lumps of ice the size of a small car. Some floating and some seemed static. A guy on the shore was holding a piece of the ice. It was amazing, like looking at ancient snowflakes bound together and preserved in this block of ice. I walked along a bit further and then saw a rock with an incredible light turquoise on the surface like the colour of Lake Pukaki.
As I was leaving I met Hiroko and Hiroyasu, the couple I met earlier and they invited Tim and I to stay with them in Japan! How fantastic! I wasn’t expecting that either! We have swapped email addresses, so now we’ve decided to go to Japan after Australia.
The rain and wind was howling so I started on my return journey. Hood up, hood down…the weather was very erratic, within minutes it changed. Just as I was approaching the 2nd swing bridge, the epic climbers phoned. They had completed their climb so was going to meet me on my return.
Later, as I turned the corner, there on top of a large boulder were two blokes, cross legged chanting. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it was Tim and Robin – or Tibin as they should be called. Robin dropped down to help me up, Tim didn’t believe I could do it – oh little faith. With guidance and a hoof up the backside, I got to the top to hear about their adventure.
They drove to the bottom of Sebastopol Ridge, just down from the Lodge and there was a 10 minute walk to the climb. Robin refreshed Tim with climbing techniques and they set about by Robin ascending first and Tim belaying. Tim was exhausted even after the first stage, but he persevered and they did another stretch – even longer. Robin was putting him through his paces. Like me, they also experienced a bit of rain and wondered whether to carry on, but took a risk, and luckily the weather cleared. The views were amazing across the valley from their high advantage point. After climbing about 60m they abseiled gently down and couldn’t believe the time. Time flies when you’re having fun. Water and choccie bar later, they then gave me a ring. I am so pleased that Tim had some time with Robin and was able to do more adventurous stuff, getting that adrenaline going. He so enjoyed it. We all arrived back at the Lodge. Nap time and then Robin was on his way.
Later in the evening Pip, the Lodge Manager invited us and another Kiwi couple over to see her art work and have a cup of tea and the chocolate rabbit that Robin had kindly given her. He is such a sweetie, got us some as well. She had painted a fantastic painting of mountains, but the folds of the rock was represented by a hand. We have now met 5 Artists in 6 days…perhaps life is giving us a nudge to be more creative.