Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Day 97 Lake Rotoiti to Parachute Rocks (St. Arnaud Range)

Time: 5 hours
Distance: Not Sure, +/- 3000’ gained
Avg Speed: Post 70 km day type of speed
Terrain: Uphill

We decided to hole up for New Years to avoid the roads and make sure we have a place to camp. Kiwis love their New Year’s celebrations. We were able to get a little sleep last night with two earplugs and the neighbors finally passing out. We are in a DOC campsite at Nelson Lake National park on the family side of the campground. The other side of the campground is where the young kids have set up the Tent City of Alcohol.
We got out of dodge this morning for a little hike. Nothing like filling up your water bottles while your fellow campers are already working on a beer while cooking bacon. At least they were eating bacon and eggs with their beer not something nutritious like muesli and yogurt. Leslie and I headed up a nearby track that went up to Parachute Rocks and the St. Arnaud Range. We hiked oh so slowly through red beech, silver beech and mountain beech forests. Our legs felt like they were barely moving, but we needed a little respite from the songs and drinking games. The hike ended for us at Parachute Rocks, which had an awesome view of Lake Rotoiti. The lake is the lowest in a series of lakes that make up the national park. It is also the headwaters to the beautifully braided Buller River. All this water really made me miss fishing. We ate lunch up top and worked our way back down the hill for a little hike along the lake. We got back to camp and decided to go grab an early dinner in town and a little food at the general store. We were able to grab a few rays of sun when we got back before the rain moved in. Leslie and I figured that the rain may quiet the natives a little bit, but it only seemed to make them party harder. I would be surprised if they made it to midnight at the rate they are going, but kiwis are a tough lot. We will be in 2008 tomorrow and hope that our 2008 went as well as our 2007. Happy New Year.

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