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Reisverslag Nelson Lakes NP Part 1
12 juli 2015
Nelson Lakes NP Part 1
It was an amazing feeling, being out in the rain, after such a beautiful 2-day hike in the Paparoa National Park. Maybe to draw some more attention, or maybe just because I felt like it, did I pick up Sarah over my shoulders and started spinning her around, while she was screaming and making a desperate effort of trying to hold on to her coffee, haha. After 15 minutes, we were lucky. A couple minutes before that, a big bus had stopped on the side of the road. The person who would eventually take us, thought that the bus needed some mechanical support and therefore stopped. The friendly coffee Sir walked up to the car and asked him if he could take us and he wanted to! Our backpacks tied to the back of his truck and us, with all our wet clothes and booths, propped up in the front. It was a 3seater truck, so it was nice and cozy, with the rain banging on the windows. Our driver was a pilot in the area we were in now and he told us all about it. Pretty amazing when you hear somebody telling about their daily routine in the air. Maybe normal over here with all the mountains, but for me it’ll probably always be something special.
He dropped us off in Westport, at the Top 10 Holiday Park. Our plan had been to re-stock here and make our way, by hitching, inland towards Nelson Lakes National Park. When we were sitting in the car towards Westport, Sarah and I only had to look at each other to know that we were thinking the same thing; we are going to stay one night in Westport and chill the fuck out, haha. Our clothes and equipment could do with some cleaning/drying and it would be nice to have a kitchen and a shower again. So it was that we got ourselves a camping spot in the holiday park and started our drying process, because the rain had been replaced by the beautiful yellow circle we call sun. The rest of the day we spent on chilling, a visit to the local library and filling up our supplies. I don’t remember what we ate that night, but knowing Sarah and the opportunity of having a kitchen to use, she probably made something magical that evening, haha.
The next day we packed our stuff and gave our thumb another work out on the side of the road. First we stood before the bridge, on the side of Westport, but later we moved over it, just past the junction, so we had, in my opinion, a better chance of getting picked up. It took another 20 to 30 minutes before a car pulled over, but he, what’s half an hour? The woman who picked us up was on her way to Nelson, so we could hitch quite a ride with her, all the way to the junction for Saint Arnaud, which was then only another 25 km. She was a psychologist, so we had some good talks in the car. The thing with hitchhiking is that there’s always a general part of talking which will always be the same, well, for us. Where do you come from, where have you been, how long have you been here, what are your plans, etc. For the hitchers, the person who picks you up always changes, so those are new stories. When you are hitchhiking together, you hear the other telling the same story over and over again only in a different way, haha. But when you are past the general part you can actually start ‘talking’. And that was really nice with this woman and I think both Sarah and I learned something from her. She gave her card to us and if we were ever around Nelson area, we should come and look her up, so nice.
At the junction we had our lunch, but the sandflies annoyed the shit out of me and I couldn’t enjoy sitting down and eat. They were absolutely everywhere. There was not really a good place to stand next to the road to get picked up, so it had to happen in a very small space. There was a girl before us, but luckily she got picked up quite quick and also for us, it didn’t took long. We got picked up by a man who was on his way to the boat race weekend in Saint Arnaud. He gave us a lift to the visitor center to check out if there was any camping ground close by, which there was, and that was where we said good-bye to each other. The camping was surrounded by forest and on one side by a lake, it was absolutely beautiful. Mountains all around the rest of the lake, which was called Lake Rotoiti.
Because of the boat race the camping was packed with people and without a reservation you couldn’t get a spot. But with a bit of talking and explaining that we didn’t need that much space, it was all good. A couple of other people rocked up with tents and so we had our small little tent community. Dinner and to bed, because tomorrow we would start our next hike!
Breakfast, showering and packing our bags; the normal ritual only with the slightly luxurious add of the shower. In the visitor center we booked our tent spots and planned our trip. We would make our way to Blue Lake, through the Angelus Hut, and back by the Speargrass track. A 6 day hike, wherein we would pass also Lake Rotoroa. We had already bought all our supplies in Westport, which was really good, because the shop in Saint Arnaud was so expensive. One more coffee and some cake and we were good to go! Ahh, while writing this I can just feel the excitement again of starting a new hike, amazing. The boat race had already started and to get to the start of the track we had to walk halfway around the lake. The last part was going up and before we had actually started, our backs were wet from the effort. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was beautiful blue, so we couldn’t have chosen a better day. Couple more stretches and let’s go! The view was becoming more and more incredible by every passing minute, because we were going up the whole time. We took our time and put in some breaks, because it was pretty tough going. We had both found ourselves a Gandalf stick, which was good for the walking. Finally we reached the ‘top’, but that wasn’t the end of the track. Now we had to follow the ridgeline all the way to the Angelus Hut, another 3 hours of walking perhaps. And wauwww, what a views EVERYWHERE! Unbelievable, it was so beautiful. Lakes, forests, mountainpeaks…..everything. The wind was blowing fiercely on top, but that was pretty nice with the blazing sun on our heads. The track was pretty dangerous in some places too, where you definitely had to watch yourself for not slipping away. But we made it to the hut safe and well, before dark, but so tired. The Angelus hut is in a valley, next to a small lake. Nevertheless, the wind was also here. When we were finished setting up the tent, we prepared our food and ourselves for bed; sleeping was the only thing we could think off, haha.
Early rising with the sun, but taking it easy as always. With our premade breakfast in our bellies we were ready for another day in the Nelson Lakes. The ridgeline continued after we had climbed out of the valley. We made some nice pictures and took our time, which was good, because a very hard part of the track lied in front of us. After the beautiful trekking over the ridge of the mountains with again stunning views, we had a descent of 4 hours to do. We both didn’t think that it would be so hard, but on this journey down, we hurt ourselves. Sarah had too much pain in her knees and for me it was again my upper thigh, which was throbbing. It was slow going and full with agony, and after every bend in the track you hope that you see something that looks like a hut. It felt like it took ages, but, of course, eventually we made it. Our plan in the morning was to make it to the next hut, but after a brief sit down together, we decided to stay and give ourselves some rest. Also did we make the decision to not go further to Blue Lake, but take a loop back to Saint Arnaud. That would still give us 2 days more of hiking(instead of another 4 days) and it was not as hard to do apparently. We both truly felt that we had gone too far with our bodies and that we had to take some proper rest.
So that meant that we had all the time in the world. It was only 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and the hut was next to Lake Rotoroa, so let’s get those muscles soaked in water! There was absolutely nobody to be seen and you could feel the serenity and peace everywhere. That peace was over when we got out of the water and the sandflies jumped on us like a couple of horny dogs. Running back to the hut, where we would stay the rest of the time, because the flies were absolutely going mental. Another 6 people joined us later on in the day, but we didn’t really mingle into it. We were both a bit sad about having to abort our original plan, and we just needed a good sleep; tomorrow is another day….
31 mei 2017 13:25 | Door: Tanja ebert
Hey moeki, remember me? Just wondering how you are doing. Thought it seemed very odd you vanished from social media. Didn't think that was going to happen so I got worried about you and decided to chase you up. I remembered Unebenheiten so found this website.
Wouldn't love if you got in touch just to tell me you are doing fine somewhere out there!
4 juni 2017 04:37 | Door: Jasper Moek
Hey Tanja, I do remember you! How could I forget you! Haha, I´m doing very fine and I´m now in Canada. How are you doing, and how is your kid? What is his or her name? Hope all is well with you too in good old Australia, add me on facebook; Jagnar Travels. Love to hear your story :)