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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Mt. Arthur Lookout

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 22 March 2009 | Views [1100]

I’ve spent four nights in Ngatimoti now, and I certainly felt better today than I did yesterday. This morning I woke up at 9:45 AM and washed up. Last night I had a dream that I was stranded in Sao Paulo. I was ready for a walk up to Mt. Arthur because I wanted to get out there! For brekkie I had some sourdough bread smeared with raspberry jam. Shiloh and Lani sure know how to make some fantastic food! The other day I was having some of their homemade apple juice. Their refrigerator is literally a cabinet with cool-air ventilation. Libi woke up just after I did, and was ready to go on the trek. After we ate, we packed some pears, two bottles of water, and a jumper (sweatshirt). The weather today was perfect for climbing a mountain. I tried to call Teressa but she hasn’t been answering her phone for the past couple of days. Lani told us that we should get going soon because it takes about three hours to climb up to Mt. Arthur and then three hours coming back. At about 11:00 AM, we were on our way. Up the road we had to walk up to a bridge about a 10 minute’s walk away. Just as we got there an elderly couple picked us up. They were heading about halfway to the beginning of the Mt. Arthur track. They are really well-travelled and were telling us about how they just got back from Israel and on another trip they journeyed from Alaska to the Panama Canal on a cruise ship. Traffic was sparse when they dropped us off, but a jeep came down the street only a few minutes later. They were heading up to Mt. Arthur. As we were talking, they told us that we travellers have seen more of New Zealand than most Kiwis have. I wouldn’t tell Lance that because he’s been to just about every nook and cranny of the country yet doesn’t have a passport. We drove up the bumpy gravel road and passed the sign that says Kahurangi National Park.

“Kahurangi” can either mean “treasured possession” or “blue.” Today I was wearing my kahurangi shirt. It was noticeably cooler because we were at an altitude of almost 1000 metres. The walk from the carpark to the summit of Mt. Arthur would be about 4 hours. Libi saw a weka, thinking it was a kiwi. There are kiwis (I think) living in Kahurangi National Park but they’re much more elusive than the tokoeka. I had on my tramping boots but Libi had on her walking shoes. She wasn’t sure if she could make it all the way to the summit. However I was confident I could make it. The first hour of the walk was mostly through dense bush with the occasional spectacular view. At about 1:00 PM we reached Mt. Arthur Hut, but the summit was still another 2-3 hours away. Libi said she’s wait here if I decided to go up but I didn’t want to do that to her. We rested for a few minutes and chatted with several other people there. Just a short distance up the trail, we’d be above the tree line and have a spectacular 360-degree view. So, that’s what we did. There was blue water, blue sky, and a hint of blue in the vegetation. Altogether it puts the “blue” in Kahurangi. For more than a half hour we just sat up there, enjoying the view.

There aren’t many days you’ll get a view like this! We got several photos, including one where I’m pointing out to “my land.”

It would have been nice to get to the summit of Mt. Arthur but we were content just going this far. A number of trampers said it’s very cold, and there was a group of 11 people; only three decided to go up to the summit. There was an 80-year old tramper named Truman at the hut. His philosophy: either wear out or rust out. I’d prefer the former because it’s not much fun sitting around doing nothing with your life. We decided to go back to the carpark. It took about 45 minutes to walk all the way back. I’ll tell you a little bit about the forests of Kahurangi National Park. The forest is a beech forest, the most common type of forest in New Zealand. Ancestors of the beech trees covered the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland before its break-up began 80 million years ago, and relatives of New Zealand’s five beech types are now found on other pieces of that continent: Australia, South America, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and, in fossil form, Antarctica. During recent ice ages, vast ice sheets covered much of the South Island, destroying many forest and alpine communities. Kahurangi National Park acted as a refuge for a great many plant species and today, over half of New Zealand’s 2,400-odd native plant species are found in the park, including a staggering 80% of all alpine species. With the introduction of many animals, some native forest animals have been wiped out, and the forest here in Kahurangi is likely to be different in the next hundred years or so. Kahurangi isn’t visited as much as Fiordland or Mt. Cook National Parks, but it has its own beauty. As Libi and I asked around for a ride, a young man from the Czech Republic took us with him down to the main road. There were a couple of guys (who looked a bit like bums) sitting in the grass with their apple-picking bags. We picked them up, and they were also from the Czech Republic. Kris, the young man who picked us up was set to go fishing in the Motueka River. He dropped us off on the main road but I didn’t realize how far away we were from Ngatimoti. Libi and I had to wait for another ride. Sometimes I feel like I have better luck getting lifts when I’m with a girl but today it was a pretty long wait. Finally we were picked up by a gentleman from the U.S. who was heading down to Greymouth. His name is Mark and he spent the past few days up at Golden Bay. There are still a lot of places in this area that I want to tackle, such as Farewell Spit and a number of the tramping tracks. As a thank you we gave Mark some of the delicious pears that are grown on the property. Nobody was home when we got home, so Libi and I just hung out in her tent. She ate some tuna (normally not allowed on the property) and she gave me a couple of granola bars. We then hung out where Carey sleeps and Libi and I gave each other a massage. It was much needed after a good walk today. Shiloh and Lani came home about an hour after we did. Aarla and I got into a wrestling match because I was playing with the heart-shaped greenstone. She responded by taking the book I was reading. Afterward she got all emotional as I lay in the grass. Aarla doesn’t have patience with me like everyone else. Dinner was cooking as Aarla got over the argument. It was soup, mashed potatoes, and apple dumplings. Lani said that apple dumplings are very popular in Switzerland. Everything I’ve had here is so delicious! It is my second straight day of not drinking any Red Bull and not spending any money. It helps a lot when I’m eating healthy with my friends. Libi is leaving tomorrow to do some WWOOFing in Riverside, which is a suburb of Motueka. I’ll miss her much; she said I could stay with her when I visit Israel. Shiloh, Lani, Sylas, and everyone else have been so nice to me. I took a shower and then went to my room at about 10:30. Tomorrow is my final full day here in Ngatimoti and I’m not sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow. See you soon!

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