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Published: October 18th 2014
October 5 – The Rob Roy Glacier sits in the Matukituki Valley in Mt. Aspiring National Park. To get to the trail head, we first had to ford the river 5 or 6 times. Thankfully, we were in Brian and Diane’s sturdy four-wheel drive Rav 4 and not in ‘gee zee jay’ which we left sulking in the parking lot at the resort.
It was a cool, wet, windy day. (I was beginning to think there were no other kinds.) We first crossed an open area surrounded by beautiful green and gold, bracken covered hills. Brian set a fast pace trying his best to get us (well, mostly me) to the bridge before more rain fell as fording the stream on the way back might be difficult if the waters rose too much. We crossed a large suspension bridge and started up the steep, rocky trail. Beside the trail in the gorge ran a stream that was sometimes green and other times blue. The trees almost dripped with moss which explained the steady drizzle of rain. As the trail got steeper and narrower, I started to lose my nerve, and thought I should stop, but Brian, the ever-present
optimist and ‘salesman’ persuaded me very gently to continue on by helping me through the tough spots. One may ask where David was, well, the ‘Disappearing Canadian’ as Diane aptly dubbed him had heard the siren call of the photo at the top, and had raced far ahead. Eventually, we did meet up with David at a lookout spot, and this is where I decided that I really wasn’t going any further. I was worried that like the proverbial cat that climbs the tree, I would not be able to descend. And, although Brian offered to carry me back down, I did not want to take advantage of this. So, David, Diane and Brian departed for the hour long return trip, and I sat on the little bench and ate my lunch.
I was getting a little cold so I walked around and found a nice hole in a tree to lean into to keep warm. (I may not be very sturdy, but I am resourceful!) While they were gone, I met a nice couple with three children – their youngest son looked less than excited to go any further, so they ate their lunch and turned
back. I returned back to my hole in the tree and soon some little birds arrived to keep me company. (I took several photos of my friends -- I think David won't leave me alone with a camera again.)
The trip down was much faster than the trip up and, I didn’t feel nearly as nervous on the narrow paths – perhaps I was just too tired and cold? Or perhaps I was just mesmerized watching Brian descend the narrow paths, walking backwards at times, waving his hands, while telling about his times in the mountains working as a geologist. I really could see him being dropped off somewhere and traversing the peaks like a mountain goat. Diane matches Brian's energy with stamina and determination. She's been on this tramp many times, including one of her last forays with a group who linked arms to ford the river!
Going over the suspension bridge, the wind was fairly strong. I was nearly over when my glove caught on the wire, and a big gust blew it away! It happened so fast! I was relieved it was only a glove. These gloves had served me well,
and it was just luck that I wouldn’t be needing them much after this walk anyway.
Although the weather was less than ideal, and we had to rush a bit, it was still a great tramp in the New Zealand Mountains, and will be one of the highlights of our trip.
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