Published: December 27th 2010December 27th 2010
Blog #15 – Queen Charlotte Track Days 3 & 4 – Dec. 2 & 3, 2010 –
Ah, what to say? More beautiful scenery. Day 3 was a long day, 24 km, and some very steep hills. The manuka bushes on this stretch of track were in full bloom; good thing none of us suffers from floral allergies! Every time we turned a corner there was a different view of the Marlborough Sounds – so many twisting winding arms and inlets. We slept that night at DeBretts Homestay on the Kenepuru Sound, near the Portage Resort Hotel . I felt very proud at having hiked that distance. The other people sharing the backpackers were a German couple and a German girl, travelling separately, but eating supper together. The German girl later told us, “I meet so many German people travelling that my English isn’t getting any better!” It is true that we have met a LOT of Germans, and it has been particularly interesting talking to the ones who are about Emily’s age who have grown up in the ‘unified Germany’, and hearing their perspective on the changes after the wall came down.
Our final day on the track,
we followed a ridge along a long picturesque inlet of Kenepuru Sound. The valley at the bottom of the ridge was farm land, and it was like watching a miniature set from above (think ‘Friendly Giant’): tiny sheep, tiny tractors, tiny sheep dogs (but you could still hear them barking!) As we approached the mouth of the inlet we could see the ‘booms’ of the mussel farms laying in orderly fashion in each little bay. Scenes of agriculture and aquaculture. At length the trail crossed the height of land and we descended to Mistletoe Bay on the ocean side, through a beech forest. A type of black fungus lives on the trunks of the beech trees, and because of the relatively shallow layer of soil on the bedrock, the roots of the beech forest were very superficial here. The contrast between the black of the roots and the gold of last year’s fallen leaves was striking.
This day was notable because Emily’s shoes had fallen apart so she decided to tramp barefoot. She has always had tough feet but living in New Zealand has toughened her up further! So, note the picture of our three kinds of foot wear
– me, hiking boots, Jim, runners, and Emily, barefeet.
As we approached Mistletoe Bay through the bush, we could hear cheering and shouting. We remarked that perhaps a school group had finished the track and was playing some games until their water taxi arrived. But when we came out of the bush into the clearing, the playing field was full of adults. It turned out that the Port Authority from Picton had brought its employees over by boat and was having its Christmas Party, and what we were hearing was the annual cricket match, lubricated by lots of beer and wine! After the partyers left in their charter boat, our water taxi duly arrived and picked us up. We saw dolphins on our way back to Picton. Thus finished our tramp on the Queen Charlotte Track!
There are more photos below