Roy’s peak is a walk in Wanaka that’s all about the destination. Unless you would like to experience some true kiwi life by walking through piles of shit. The path is scattered with cow and sheep dung. Being a farm track, the path is also wide and easy to walk on. The rewarding bit is not the way up though, it’s the view that is waiting at the end.
The first part of the track goes through private farm land, which means you are accompanied by sheep and/or cows on you strenuous walk. I’m not sure what to think about this. You are walking uphill, a big hill at that, and little birds with yellow bellies fly right past you. Then a cow turns her head, looks at you, and decides to run. Run! To me walking is already exhausting and this cow runs through the grass.
The Roy’s peak track is tough. Climbing to a peak you would expect to ascend a lot, but I didn’t expect to be climbing all the time. There is no flat land. The only respite you get is parts that are less steep than most of the track. At least it was a sunny day. Gale force winds were in the forecast and at times I felt like they were blowing me to the top. I wasn’t that lucky, but at least they didn’t blow me off it either.
Two days ago Wanaka got a bit dump of snow. The higher I got, the more snow was on the path. At first it was just bits and pieces. Then, two tracks were formed in the high snow by people who had walked here yesterday. Later on, the track slowly narrowed until you could barely put two feet next to each other. The snow up top was about 30cm high.
The top is 1578m high and it is always in sight. This causes you to constantly think that you are almost there. When I was really almost there, the track suddenly stopped. Where it should have continued around to the other side of the mountain, there was only a big layer of snow. Instead of following the proper track, people had attempted to climb straight up the side and walk over the pointy top towards the peak.
At this point, the wind, of which I’d been sheltered for a while, reached me again. I tried to climb up via one of the many made tracks. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be a good one. All were slippery with mud and snow and the big gusts of wind scared me. I didn’t know if climbing up here was brave or stupid. After slipping away several times and really freaking out I decided on the latter.
I could barely find my way back, sliding down and holding on to the plants. I was terrified at this point. Ahead of me I saw a boy climbing to the top on hands and feet. This was not the way for me. I didn’t know why the real path was unused, so I decided not to risk it. I turned around and made my way back down. After hours of ascending, the descent was so easy.
All the way down I kept looking back over my shoulder. The peak disappeared more into the distance the lower I got. I kept thinking how close I’d gotten. I kept wondering if I should have gone further. In the meantime the sun had melted some of the snow, making the way down wet and muddy.
This walk was like seeing a movie and missing the end. You enjoy the film, but keep wondering what the rest was like. I walked all the way up and when I walked down I was quite impressed with myself. It seemed endless. I didn’t get the prize though. Instead of the 360 view, I got the 230. The view was amazing, but I can’t help but wonder what the other 130 is like.