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Published: March 21st 2018
Day 24: Queenstown to Mossburn, 103km. The Donkey meets Misery in its purest form.
The Donkey had some difficulty getting out of bed because his back was very sore. He knew from experience that he had to be patient with his Backpain and take it a bit easier for a couple of weeks. The Donkey and Backpain have developed a delicate relationship over the years with mutual tolerance and understanding. The Donkey explained to Backpain that he had two more days to go, can he please go easy on him. Backpain did not answer back and the Donkey hauled himself out of bed and slowly got dressed. He knew Backpain would ease off a bit if he kept him moving gently. When it came to putting his socks on however Backpain balked and did not let the Donkey do it. The Donkey was determined not to ask Tahr to put his socks on his hoofs, that would be humiliating. Sometimes, at the worst of times he let Butterfly do it, but the great Tahr? No! So the Donkey rolled on his back and tried and tried and finally got them on. They looked crooked but the Donkey did not care
as they would soon be hidden in his shoes, which was another battle to get into. Tahr had the boat already on the trailer, hooked on the van and within no time they arrived on the shores of the Lake Wakatipu for the trip across to Walter Peak Station still in the pitch dark. Tahr strapped Spot on the deck of the boat and launched it. The Donkey was pretty useless in helping because his sore back and because he is generally uselessness is assisting with anything technical and such things.
So he sat in the boat while Tahr got organised. Now this boat of Tahr is tiny, if you see it you think it is the cutest little jet boat in the world but if you are in it, that changes to terror. The Donkey had once been in the boat with Tahr on the Shotover River. It was sort of fun as he totally trusted Tahr but him and Tahr had to wear ear muffs because of the noise the motor makes. The noisier the motor, the faster the boat and this little cutie made a hell of a racket and it could do incredible twirly whirlys
and it was full of dents which worried the Donkey.
Tahr pushed the boat off and jumped in and started the motor. The only noise which came out of the motor was ke-doink and then it went silent. Tahr tried to start it again and the same thing happened. This does not sound good the Donkey thought. Tahr used the f word which he does not do very often and that got the Donkey worried even more. They rowed the little boat back to shore by using their hoofs as paddles and Tahr went to work in a frenzy of jumper leads, all sorts of tools, using his brute strength, banging away at things and eureka, after 10 minutes the motor exploded into action, confirming Tahr’s reputation. Off they went at a hundred miles an hour. But the boat went bumputeebumpeeteebump on the early morning ripples of the lake and the Donkey’s back did not like it. The Donkey was in agony and asked Tahr to slow down but Tahr had his ear-muffs on and a big grin on his face. The Donkey, desperately holding on to the bike, as that was his task, tried to lift his bum
of the seat but to no avail. In desperation he threw himself at Tahr and stuck his down-turned thumb of his hoof in front of Tahr’s face. Tahr got the message and continued at a more reasonable speed. The trip took 10 minutes. The Earnslaw was still fast asleep at the jetty in Queenstown. Light was breaking when the Donkey stood on the beach at Walter Peak Station and as he waved Tahr goodbye he discovered that he still had his life jacket on. Mmmm, the Donkey thought, will keep it on as it might be handy when the Southerly arrives. Just when he wanted to leave the roar of the jetboat came back into earshot and Tahr arrived to recover the missing life jacket.
The Donkey set of in a light Southerly breeze, the quiet before the storm. The scenery was stunning, low hanging cloud with clumps of mountains breaking through, distant snowy peaks and the lake clear as crystal. The Donkey needed time to warm up, his back and his knee which were competing for attention. He also wanted to enjoy this part of the ride as he knew that later it would become ugly. He was
passed by a horse from Rangiora and a deer, a doe, which is a female stag, the Donkey knew that and he was very proud of that as most donkeys got all confused when it came to stags and deer. The three got talking and the Donkey found out that the deer had five fawns (children) and the donkey could understand that she wanted to get away from home for a while. She was very strong. She had teamed up with the horse who was even stronger. The donkey decided to stick with them for a while as they might come in handy when the southerly arrived.
Just when they hit the summit of the Von Hill the Southerly hit. The temperature dropped to 4 degrees and Rain was replaced by Sleet as even for Rain it got too cold. The three still had 70km on the gravel roads, which soon turned into mud, to go. Most of it a gradual downhill but that was well and truly compensated for by Headwind and Sleet. The horse did a lot of work in the front with the other two sitting in behind. They got very cold but knew that they
had to keep going, the only way to survive. Not much was spoken. Numb hands made it difficult to regulate the gear levers and the brakes. All three were in their own cocoon of Misery in its purest form. Second last day and this happens, bloody well my luck, the Donkey muttered but he was grateful for the company as shared misery is easier to tolerate,
They got to the Railway Hotel in Mossburn late-afternoon and defrosted in the shower and in front of the wood fire. It had been a close fought thing but the Donkey, horse and deer survived an arduous day.
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