Saturday, February 4th, 2017: The Hike in Wanaka
Today was the day. We got up early and packed up all our things as we would be staying in Wanaka after the hike. When we got to the parking lot and I saw the mountain we would be hiking, I thought damn ok. I should preface this with that Mads and Jamie love to hike and have done quite a bit of it. I am not so much of a hiker. I have hiked before but quickly learned that they must have been bunny slopes in comparison. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. We got started (I hadn’t had my morning poop yet so there was a lingering fear that I might have to shit in the woods today) on the trek to the trail head and I was already dying. The incline was ridiculous and my calves were on fire. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and mine was absolutely telling me it wasn’t ready for this shit. Plus Madeline and Jamie were already killing it and I didn’t want them to have to stay back for me since I was clearly riding the struggle bus. This was a 10 mile hike so you really had to commit and I was having commitment issues (naturally). So I grabbed the keys from Jamie and told them I’d be back to pick them up in the afternoon. I did take some sweet shots from where I made it though.
So now I was alone and in the rental car, contemplating just sleeping there; but then I decided to go to a cafe and get some wifi, so I could figure out a plan for myself for the next 5 hours. I finally drove on the opposite side of the road. This was my first time and I was NERVOUS AS FUCK. But I did it and I’m so glad I did. I have been missing my car and the freedom that comes along with it ,so much. It was nice to be able to get in and go. Driving on the left side is so weird and different, but also the same.Did I use the wipers because I thought they were turn signals? Multiple times. When I made it to town, I found some free parking by the lake and started walking around town. I settled at the Alchemy with their free wifi, a cheese scone (best ever), and a mocha. My morning movement finally happened and I was soooo freaking glad to have a nice toilet versus the great outdoors. I think I’m realizing as much as I’d love to be the outdoorsy type, I’m just not. But I will say I enjoy being outdoors more than I used to so that has to count for something. I walked around for an hour or so before I found a cute bench by the water to read. I had a great view and a decent book. I made some major progress in that book too. Something about hearing the lapping of the water and kids and dogs playing in the water that is just so relaxing.
I decided to head back a little earlier to maybe get in that nap I had been thinking about. I parked at the trail and settled in but it wasn’t 15-20 minutes later that the lovebirds were making their way towards the car. They were exhausted and ready to eat. We went to Francesca’s Italian Kitchen for some pizza.
That night we would be staying at my first ever hostel, YHA Wanaka. I was pretty hesitant, not going to lie. Mostly because I don’t trust people I don’t know and now we would be sharing a room with 3 random people. I get the appeal of a hostel for backpackers. Its cheap and it really is a great way to meet people on your travels. I wish I was someone that could get on that train. I mean the accommodations were decent. We had a cabin with a small kitchen, bathroom, and then 3 sets of bunk beds. Of course there were only top bunks left after Mads/Jamie chose the last bottom one. Thankfully, they were cool with snuggling up, so I could sleep on their top bunk. I don’t know why I just wasn’t feeling sleeping over a random person. It weirded me out.
We grabbed some beers at a pub and then tried dinner at Fig, which was a cool concept. They have a fixed menu that changes daily and you pay by the size of the plate you want. You then pick your meat and your sides (vegan friendly as well). It was pretty good. Did I mention, Wanaka has a Patagonia Chocolatier?? Well, I had my eyes on that during the day but decided to wait for Jamie and Madeline. By the time we wanted ice cream, Patagonia was closed (WTF, talk about sadness). We opted for a local creamery instead. I decided I wanted a shake as opposed to a cone. I just wasn’t feeling that 2 scoop life. However, after I was sipping my oreo shake, Madeline started laughing and pointed out that my shake contained 3 scoops of ice cream. We all had a good laugh at that one. Sometimes you think you are being better and your subconscious fat kid plays tricks on you man.
It was just about sunset and Madeline wanted to get some pictures of the Wanaka Tree. #ThatWanakaTree is the most photographed plant in New Zealand and possibly the world. Its just this super chill tree in the middle of the lake. And I admit, I succumbed to its beauty and took quite a few pictures.