Most of the time I love hiking. No. That’s wrong. I love getting to places you can’t get to without a good hike. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing something beautiful that you had to work for. Something that’s not easily accessible and doesn’t have a viewing platform. There’s nothing like being surrounded by natural beauty.
At the same time tramping, New Zealand English for hiking, is a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Especially when I venture in the bush all by myself. After seeing the well trodden paths of the great walks, I embarked on an adventure in the Fiordland. The hike up to Lake Marian was meant to take 1,5 hours each way and would show me a different kind of tramping.
From right after the waterfall viewing platform the path consisted of rocks and tree trunks. From there it only got worse and included rockfall areas, fallen trees, misleading side tracks, mud pools, ice, tree climbing and clay slides. Long story short, it was a scramble. This was my journey through the ‘really’s’.
Really? Really? Really? Is this really the path?
I was walking to a lake, but since it was an alpine lake, the whole route went uphill. I am from possibly the flattest country in the world, with speed bumps for mountains, and uphill is never my friend. Really? Walking uphill I always wonder why. What made me decide to do this? It isn’t until the very top that I realise it is all worth it and I would definitely do it again.
In this particular walk I was a bit worried about being all by myself. The path got stranger and stranger.
Eventually, after crossing several rock slides and almost going back three times, I saw the treeline. “I must be close”, my trained tramper brain thought. And there it was, after an hour of plowing through the bush at crazy speed, lake Marian. The sun came from behind the mountain. There was no escaping its bright rays that reflected off the lake, blinding me and making it hard to actually enjoy the view.
Looking at my photos I might even see more of the lake than I saw standing in front of it. It is pretty though. No masses of tourists fighting for a good spot to take a photo. Just me, the lake and the cold.
I was really glad I was there. On my way down I played songs in my head. The way back, however boring, always brings some confidence. I was slightly surprised, and panicked, when I found myself on a wrong track. A little bit of backtracking and looking for the orange markers brought me straight back though. I’d done it. Really? Really! Somehow I’d found my sense of adventure, put the little neurotic in my head aside, and did a real New Zealand tramp. Really!