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Published: July 28th 2010
Not only for the soldiers but also for the wanderers.
The sun is blasting and I'm chilling out in Picton. I think this place is like Vancouver or the west coast; if the sun shines its amazing but often it rains and I hear it can be depressing. The two days I have been here it has been sunny. There was rain at night but it made everything feel cozy inside. There is more to Picton than meets the eye, folks. If I were backpacking and going to and from the ferry terminal I would rest here a day or so.
First, its a quiet town/village with great views, do-able hiking trails, good bars and restaurants, an aquarium, maritime museum, and a pretty waterfront with marina. I love the inscription on the World War I memorial near the water that reads 'perfect peace'. Yup, that's what I'm after; and getting.
Slow morning making yam hash fry-up and then sitting in sun on balcony. Stirring myself and getting on with the day, I packed a picnic for the hike (delicious dips and breads) and booked the wine tour for tomorrow. After a day in the woods, I should be ready for a tour of the vineyards throughout Marlborough. It was nearly
Nice feeling to this town. Free internet use in the library and they'll sell you books for $1 if you really want to read.
noon before I wandered through town and popped into various shops. (Wil, a small package is on its way to you). The town map indicated a bridge through the marina and then onto the park. Typical New Zealand map, it had no height indicators but as you can see from the photos it was quite the steep hill.
I thought I was smart, following the beach until I hit a trail heading for 'Bob's Beach'. There was a gentle rise at first and I was eager to find a quiet beach to have lunch. I noticed that the trail was thin, wet from rain during the night and quite slippery. Flashes of Machu Piccu's slopes came to me...damn, I'm wearing the same shoes and there is little traction in mud. O.K., the slopes are not has high as the Peruvian mountains but I'd be quite damaged if I slipped off. And where are the people? I saw a total of four people on the trails all day, and yes, that makes it very peaceful, but.....if I slipped off the path and down the slope who would hear me yell, swear, curse my curiosity. That is the fun of these trips,
Yup, it is as pretty as this picture.
always pressing on to see what is round the next corner. If I push myself further I'll see more and more, often beautiful landscapes.
I am beginning to understand the Kiwi reputation of outdoor challenge sports people. They make everything a physical challenge to well-being. Look at how they excelled with rugby. Yes, leave it to the Kiwis to make a Sunday drive an exhilerating life and death situation. And now, on my way hiking up coastal hills and cliffs I am once again finding surprising scary tracks to follow. Its less stressful walking than in a car, but the bends are relatively the same hair-raising experience as you look for any part of the slope that isn't set to give way under your shoes. You have to stay alert because even the flat parts can send a foot sliding from under you. It is worth it because the views around an unsuspecting bend...Wow! It keeps you moving even though the track is climbing higher and higher. Heart pounding mostly because of the exercise, a little bit after slipping sideways a couple of times....I get to signposts to encourage me to the next bit. Just where is this Bob's
The hiking trails begin over bridge and past this marina.
An interesting aspect of hiking along this trail is the quiet. There seems to be no birds or bugs or animals in the bush. I saw a couple of spiderwebs and heard a bee buzz in the distance, but I heard nothing other than the dimming sounds of the marina and ferry terminal as I moved across land. There is a lot of gorse, the same that grows in Exmoor, with the same vanilla smell. Trees grow at the end of the trail, the trek at the bottom of this hill.
Finally, I caught a glimpse of the beach below, a private sandy track perfect for a picnic. Aaaah, yes, I am chilling out. A couple boats and a kayak passed by, otherwise I had this all to myself in perfect silence.
Someone came along and suggested that I go along the "Snouts Trail" because it had better lookoffs. (snout=small kind of weasel) I had enough to eat and figured I should get more exercise and set off.
The trail was even higher and the places that the sun could not reach because of the brush were slippery. I made myself a walking stick to help keep my balance.
Track is getting skinnier.
If not for the rain last night and the slippery debris, this trail would be so tranquil.
The lookoff view was amazing. How many fiords/sounds are there out there?! The sun was still blasting, the sky and water blue, and all was peaceful. Keeping an eye on the time I decided not to go to the end of Snouts Trail. I paused to watch ferries sail by, and wonder what it must have been like 800+ years ago when no human was here.
Sliding back home at times, totally exhausted by the steep slopes, I stopped at a cafe for a glass of Pinot Noir. That is what this region is famous for, so I hear.
The Tombstone hostel is a good place to stay. In fact, one could justify less travel by staying in a hostel and let the world come to them. Sharing a kitchen with people all over the world is great fun. There are enough sinks and stoves and counterspace for many meals. So far I've met people from Wales, Taiwan, Germany, France and England.
Vegetables are interesting here. I'm trying new root vegetables. I forget the name of the reddish sweet potato-type vegetable that everyone raves about (everyone being other hostel members). I'll get some for my next meal. Its such
Nice place for lunch.
a pleasure cooking my own food for a few days.
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