Monday, November 14, 2016 Glade House
Well, we started Milford Track today. Not that there was a lot of walking that took place- just under 15,000 steps and 31 floors for the day (according to my fitbit), but what there was, was damaging. I’ll get to that.
I woke this morning to the news that there’d been a lot of shaking happening up the East Coast. A mega earthquake had hit just outside Hamner Springs and Wellington and Kaikoura were pretty damaged. I wouldn’t normally have listened to the news, but my Facebook feed was full of messages asking if I was ok. I replied back to one: ‘yeah, feeling pretty anxious about the walk, but otherwise…’ before I realised that it was the quake that was on people’s minds.
Brekky was a brilliant bacon and egg butty at Ferg Baker- the breakfast of champions – and then it was onto the bus for the 2 hour drive to Te Anau. Lunch was a buffet of salads, sandwiches and frittata at Kiwi Country (yes, it’s really called that). The temperature was dropping (and forecast to drop further) so I took the opportunity to buy some thermal tights. They’re seriously attractive. They’ll look even better when worn under the gym tights that I’ll be walking in.
Then it was back onto the bus for the 20min drive to Te Anau Downs and the hour long boat ride to the official start of the track. (I’d show you the photo of us at the start of the track, but my friends are in it, and I look seriously michelin- like).
The drizzle started pretty much at the same time as we boarded the boat, and by the time we had our official start of track photos, it had decided it was to be persistent.
From the jetty it was just a short walk (1 mile) to Glade House, some afternoon tea and a chance to settle in before we did group photos and a 90 minute nature walk to explore the area a tad more.
Glade House is much as I expected it would be. Having done Routeburn Track with Ultimate Hikes a few years ago, I had a far idea about what to expect. The rooms are basic, clean, and comfortable; the bathrooms functional; and the common areas well equipped with games, magazines and educational books about New Zealand flora and fauna. Exactly.
The clock was ticking and it was soon time for some group photos in the rain, and then a 90 minute walk to explore the area. A nature walk, she said. A loop up to Glade Burn and down the other way. A few roots and rocks. Hmmmm. The path up – and it was up – was all roots and rocks. I came down heavily when my foot twisted on a tree root and my pole got stuck. I was embarrassed more than I was hurt, but it was one of my biggest fears coming to life right there in front of people I’d met for the first time.
On the way back down, we came across a fallen tree so high it needed to be climbed over. My foot slipped on the top and again I came down – beanie and poles flying everywhere. I whacked my lip on a stick, so not only was I covered in dirt, but I had blood pissing out from my face as well. I suspect that tomorrow my legs will be full of bruises. I twisted my knee, and my back, so here’s hoping it doesn’t hold me up over the next few days.
Thankfully only H and J witnessed this one. I was hurting so much, and mortified at my own clumsiness and uncoordination that my throat closed up and tears were blinding me to where I needed to place my feet so the whole thing wouldn’t happen again – on a flipping nature walk. Yes, seriously. I’m feeling overweight, under-prepared, and overwhelmed about what lies ahead. The rain is coming down hard and showing no sign of letting up for the week and I’m scared in a way I’ve never been scared before.
Anyways, there is no plan B, so I need to suck it up princess, get the poles out, and put one foot in front of the other and just do the miles tomorrow- all 10 of them…16kms. My biggest challenge tomorrow – and in the days ahead – will, I suspect, be my head.
Oh, dinner tonight: for starters we had a chicken salad. This was followed by slow-cooked venison with red wine and cranberries, mash and asparagus. It was good, hearty and filling. Dessert was apple strudel and ice cream. After dinner we did a bit of an introductory session – you know the sort of thing: who we are, where we’re from, why we’re here. I’ve already decided who I think my favourite people will be in the group.
I’m writing this in bed back in my room. It’s about 9.30pm, so the generator (and lights) will go off in about 30mins. The bed is comfy and warm, I left my kindle back in Queenstown – so I could bring my journal – and I’ve borrowed a magazine from the bookshelf here. Despite my bruised legs (and bruised pride) it could be so much worse: I could be another couple of miles down the road at the DOC hut, in my wet clothes, sharing a dorm with other snoring walkers having enjoyed a dehydrated meal with no wine. I’d do well to remember that. I’ve done the distance in my training…I’d do well to remember that too.