Friends & Family!!
The trip may be coming to an end, but the adventures are definitely not winding down quite yet. Before coming Whenua Iti Outdoors, we spent a day wandering around the cute city of Nelson, full of shops, good restaurants, and lively atmosphere. Typing from personal experience, it’s a great place to shop for things you definitely don’t have any room for.
Our first day at Whenua Iti, one of the outdoors guides, Joni, took the group to an onsite ropes course where we learned how to belay and had a few foam noodle fights in the sky. It was a great trust activity and loads of fun. The next day, we went caving with her and another guide, Johnny. We all looked amazing in our caving gear (huge full body overalls and helmets with headlamps). The cave challenged our crawling and squeezing through small spaces abilities, but it was incredible. At one point, we all turned off our headlamps and sat in the darkest dark and in complete silence, other than the stream running through the cave. We even saw glowworms (shoutout to Claire from She Oak Ridge)! The glowworms looked like stars in the night sky, and was easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Some of the group members chose to participate in a squeeze test, where you had to lay down and squeeze through a very small space to come out the other side. It was pretty funny to watch each other get stuck. Also, we can now all say we’ve eaten lunch in a cave.
Anyways, we arrived back to the Whenua Iti headquarters around 45 minutes ago from our 3 day hike around Lake Rotoiti carrying our big packs, and might I say that my legs have never been so sore. I’m sitting on a couch which feels better than ever. The first day of the hike was about 3 miles uphill and incredibly challenging, but the views of the lake and surrounding forests were definitely worth it. Once we reached the summit, we walked down a bit to our first campsite, Bushline Hut where some of us pitched tents, and others slept on mattresses in the hut. A good nights sleep was hard to come by, and we were up at 7:15 am to begin the next day.
Day 2 was a 6 mile stretch with some downhills, uphills, and flatter lands, as well as an epic river crossing in freezing, but insanely clear water. We stopped at a beautiful waterfall where about half of the group fell on the rocks (some worse than others). We stopped at Coldwater hut for lunch, where we saw huuuuuge eels from the dock and a few beautiful black swans. After a few more hours of hiking, we arrived at our next camping destination, Lakehead hut. For dinner we ate freeze dried meals and delicious brownies for dessert. We ended the day with a game or two of Werewolves (a glorified version of Mafia). Before bed, Johnny showed us that you could fit mattresses from the hut inside the tents which was life changing. This morning, I woke up positive that I wouldn’t be able to hike 3 more miles considering I couldn’t even walk up the hut steps without feeling like my legs were gonna fall off. Somehow, we all made it to the end of the trail, but not without one of us falling into a river while trying to cross over rocks.
The 13 mile (21 km) hike was overall amazing. We’re preparing ourselves to leave tomorrow for another 3 day adventure sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. I think most of us are ready to give our legs a rest and start working our arms instead.
See you all in a week!!!