First Great Walk
Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
37Trip End Sep 10, 2005
The Kepler track goes up the first day, down the second day and flat the last day. The hike was much easier than my previous ones but it was the first three day hike that I did and also the first hike I did alone or started alone. My friend for the hike who I met on the first evening was ... a name I can't pernounce but I called him Fergi and he is from Holland and a really funny guy. If we saw a waterfall or something and someone asked him how it was then instead of saying that it was nice or beautiful he would say 'It's going down' in his funny accent.
On the first day, when I arrived at the hut, the 'Hut Warden' gave us a short nature walk & talk. Basically , (and you could probably write a song about it) the only mammal in New Zealand was the bat and some birds were here too who couldn't fly (like the Takahe and the Kakapo) and all together everyone was predator free. Then Europe introduced rabbits for the fur but they ate the crops, so they brought stoats to eat the rabbits, but instead they ate the birds who didn't know how to protect themselves. Possums - introduced for fur and now eat birds. Deer - For hunting but also interfere with the crops. This is why no new species can be brought here and no foreign food either.
We also got an explanation about the plants. There was one particular fungus that caught my attention (I know it sounds weird but it's going somewhere , promise). The 'Warden' said that the specific fungus will only grow where there is no pollution at all , only in perfect oxygen. Then I started thinking about how everyday we are polluted little by little and up here on Luxmore Mountain, I can fill my lounges all the way and breath 100% pollution free air. That made me feel pretty good and healthy for some reason. After the nature walk , everybody at and hung out until we got tired and went to sleep.
The second day I started on my own and w3ent up to the peak of the mountain. For those of you who think that you shouldn't bring contact lenses on hikes - clearly you haven't been to the top of Mount Luxmore with glasses. Let me tell you what happens - your glasses turn a lovely shade of wet and drip so basically , to see anything, you have to take them off anyway. Being blind on the top of a mountain is not too recommended and I'm not going to even start about Bungy and rafting in that context.
The track was very well marked and easy to follow. At one lookout point we saw a Kea. For about half an hour we were trying to get the Kea to come close at which point I started missing my own little bird and began talking to the Kea like it was mine. It even came and took a weed from my hand which was very cute.
The forests here are amazing (besides the sand flies). Everything is the deepest color green and covered with moss in every possible shape. Every once in a while a ray of sun will find it's way through and you can hear the birds and ..
The third day was long - Nine hours of walking. It took 4 hours to get to the next hut (even though it was estimated to be 6 hours) and then another five hours till we got to the car. The walk didn't have too many inclines so it wasn't so bad but again - carrying all that weight on you back is not easy. After a nice shower , which I haven't done for four days, we all went out to eat. The Dutch guy and four Germans and I went to eat pizza at a restaurant (sounds like a joke) and I ordered the vegetarian pizza with pepperoni (he he) and it was fun just relaxing after that walk. That night I slept in my tent again and it was very windy so my sleep wasn't that good. It's fun sleeping in the tent though - you get the most privacy and you feel like your experiencing the outdoors (or something like that).
From here it's off to Milford Sound for sea kayaking - an opportunity to work on my upper body for a change. Fiordland over and out...