Day 21: Hokitika to Haast, 163km. Sandflies but no orthopaedic surgeons at Lake Parenga

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March 19th 2018
Published: March 19th 2018
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Day 21: Hokitika to Haast, 163km. Sandflies but no orthopaedic surgeons at Lake Parenga

Between the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers, a distance of a mere 30km, the Donkey had to haul Spot over three saddles, 321m, 408m and 411m high. It was hard work and the Donkey’s left knee did not like it and went on strike. C’mon knee, give me a hand here, the Donkey pleaded but Knee shook his head, closed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest, not willing to discuss the matter any further. So the Donkey carried on with only one functional knee even if in theory he should still have three working knees left, as donkeys have 4 legs with 4 knees, but today the Donkey felt he only had two knees, he did not know why that was, a donkey can’t know everything, so he decided to accept it and he limped over the climbs with some difficulty. The Donkey arrived in Fox Township two hours later where he had a coffee and a Dutch apple cake with sahne (which is German for cream, the donkey knows a few German words like sahne and vieler gruse, the Donkey felt he was very clever that way as most donkeys are not good with languages) and contemplated what to do next.

The previous day the Donkey had received a message from his little sister who lives in a faraway land and who had heard of the Donkeys exploits. She included a quote which went like this: Listen to the whisper of your body so it does not have to scream. Fat lot of good that will do me, the Donkey thought, that quote definitely won’t get me to Bluff. I might as well lie down and die now, and he locked the quote in that part of his brain where he keeps quotes which are not suitable for the situation he found himself at the time in but might come in handy at a later date. He thought that the quote was potentially useful when he was on his deathbed and his body and mind whispered that it had enough and that a doctor would come and help him out before his body and mind started screaming. The whisper quote is an excellent argument for euthanasia the Donkey decided and he would add it to his submission to the Government which is deciding about a proposed euthanasia bill. It could be called the whisper bill, the Donkey thought. In the meantime the Donkey stuck to his favourite quote: 'pain is tempory, quitting lasts forever'. The quote comes from Lance Armstrong, it is a good quote, despite the fact that Lance is a cheat. Lance Armstrong is one of life's great disappointments for the Donkey.

The road to Fox Glacier was closed due to damage from the cyclone which had struck the area a few weeks prior but the Donkey managed to find a swing bridge from where he could look up the glacier valley with the summit of Mount Cook just visible in the background, towering above proceedings. It was a stunning view and the Donkey stood still by the moment even if the swing bridge refused to stop swinging which made it difficult for the Donkey to stand still. From Fox township there was quite a bit of downhill which gave the Donkeys bothersome knee a rest and the Donkey the opportunity to think some more.

A friend from Christchurch, an elephant called Jumbo, who knew a lot about cycling and who also knew about the Donkeys ailments, had send him some advice.

1) Get a round seat

2) Put ice on your backside at the end of the day when you come of the bike

3) Check that your pedal is not bend

This advice did not cut it for the Donkey as

1) He had only seen round seats on women bikes and when the other donkeys would see him with a women’s seat on his bike they would think he had gone soft, which he had, but he did not want to make it so bleeding obvious. Spot would not take kindly to the idea either as it would turn him into a transgender. There is nothing wrong with being transgender but you need to give your consent before you can action that and the Donkey was certain that Spot was not in the mood for something so drastic and did not even discuss it with him.

2) The Donkey could not think of anything worse than putting ice on his butt, imagine, he shivered by the thought.

3) Why would the pedal be crooked and if it was the Donkey had no idea what to do about it

So the Donkey dismissed his friend’s ideas but still considered them as the suggestions came from a good friend and when a friend takes the effort to give advice you need to listen and consider it. So the Donkey considered Jumbo’s suggestions extensively before he dismissed them.

During one of the longer downhills the Donkey got a brilliant idea. Now, donkeys do not get brilliant ideas a lot, perhaps once or twice in their life time, if they are lucky. There are plenty of donkeys who never ever get a brilliant idea, but this was definitely one, at least that is what the Donkey thought. The Donkey would go to Lake Parenga, where he was planning to stay the night, in a Lodge, and look for an orthopaedic surgeon for a knee replacement and a plastic surgeon for a butt implant, like a boob job but for the butt, and voila, two fool proof solutions to the Donkeys main two ailments, just like that. But the Donkey could not to find an orthopeadic surgeon at lake Parenga anywhere and neither could he find a plastic surgeon. This surprised the Donkey as Lake Parenga was known as an area with few inhabitants and for an orthopaedic surgeon a couple of joint replacements a year could see him live comfortably and for a plastic surgeon likewise with two or three boob jobs. And that would give them plenty of time to do other stuff, like hunting and fishing. There were lots of sandflies at Lake Parenga instead, humongous ones. The Donkey thought he had seen it all at Lake Rotoroa but these critters were a different kettle of fish (or is it cattle of fish, no, as cows are cattle and fish are fish) from the Rotoroa ones as they were twice the size. Kettle of fish, the Donkey had to think about that, he could understand a kettle of sandflies, which he would happily turn on so to boil them alive. The Donkey contemplated if he would do the same with a kettle of fish but decided probably not and he wondered about the difference between a kettle of sandflies and a kettle of fish. Then he knew the answer as the sandflies attacked you all the time, they have no mercy, you can’t reason with them, which meant that if you had the chance you should retaliate and what better way than boiling them up in a kettle. Fish, in contrary, wished donkeys no harm, except for Great White Sharks who love donkeys, for them a donkey is a delicacy, the reason why you never see a donkey on a surfboard, but a Great White Shark does not fit in a kettle so that does not count. The Donkey considered all this and decided that he would let the fish live, unless he was hungry. He would even wait if he was only a little bit hungry but if he was very hungry it was going to be him or the fish so then he had no choice. But cooking them seemed cruel, even crueler than putting a hook through their nose. The Donkey decided to first stick an electric cable in a power point at one end and he would dangle the other end in the water in the kettle. This would electrocute the fish and kill them so quick that they would not realise what had happened to them. After the electrocution he could safely turn the kettle on and eat the boiled fish, if he was still hungry.

There was no kettle at Lake Parenga to put the sandflies in and Tailwind knocked on the Donkeys door and asked if he had some time for him. For you always, the Donkey answered. The Donkey hopped on Spot and decided to ride a bit further that day, he had it with Lake Parenga, its sandflies and the lack of orthopaedic and plastic surgeons. His sore knee felt much better, it must have gotten a fright when he heard that he was going to be replaced, or was it that the medication he had taken at lunchtime was working?

At Bruce Bay the Donkey met up again with his old friend the Bulldog who is in security and who had guided the Donkey into Wellington. Once again they decided to team up and together Tailwind blew them to Haast where Showpony had organised accommodation and where Showpony cooked a nice meal for them all.


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