Our last stop on the trip: Queenstown (again). This time with Ang! Ang got placed on a project in Auckland and we really wanted to meet up while we were both in NZ. Since she had Good Friday and Easter Monday off, she flew into Queenstown so we could meet. Dad and I met Ang in town for dinner before heading to her AirBnB to play board games. It was so nice to catch up face to face.
On Monday morning we decided to hike Ben Lomond, however we would turn around at 1:00 so we would have enough time to descend and send Ang off to the airport. We got to Ben Lomond Saddle at 12:20. From there, it was supposed to be an hour to the summit. At 1:00, we decided to turn around even though we were so close to the summit. SO CLOSE. But I didn’t want Ang to miss her plane, so down we went. We grabbed burgers at Fergburger, a Queenstown establishment, before heading to the airport.
After we sent Ang off, I felt the full force of irritation I had been holding back. It bothered me so much that we didn’t make it to the summit even though we were so close–surely less than 20 minutes. It felt like an itch I couldn’t scratch. Looking back now, I’m not as annoyed. But I still would have preferred a different scenario–one in which we just summited Ben Lomond despite the time.
The following day, Dad and I went to Glenorchy, an hour north of Queenstown, for a horseback riding tour. My horse, Mexico, was a beautiful chestnut colored horse. Our group of 5 rode along the Rees riverbed. I felt a little scared at first since I didn’t feel in control of Mexico, but after several minutes of riding my fear disappeared. We saw mountains that are a part of the Misty Mountains in the LOTR movies. We, or our horses, walked through the crystal clear water of the Rees River. I loved the willow trees (not native) that dot the river. We trotted in some of the more open areas and Mexico broke into a surprise canter at one point. It was a superb day in Glenorchy with quintessential NZ scenery. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish the trip.
Before I left NZ, I already started planning for my next trip to NZ (Neson/Abel Tasman, Arthur’s Pass, Kaikoura, Routeburn Track, Kepler Track, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Islands…).
My only qualm about traveling is my huge carbon footprint. Plane rides, for one, have a huge footprint. Then there’s all the towels and sheets that must be washed every 2-3 days, depending on how long I stay at a hostel. And I use a lot more plastic while on the road, from grocery bags to occasionally buying water bottles (when I forget mine in the hostel). I fret about being an eco-friendly traveler, but I’m not quite sure how.
I want to close my documentation of this set of travels on a more peaceful note, so I leave you with this:
Place by Brian Turner
Once in a while
you may come across a place
seems as close to perfection
as you will ever need.
And striving to be faultless
the air on its knees
holds the trees apart,
yet nothing is categorically
thus, or that, and before the dusk
mellows and fails
the light is like honey
on the stems of tussock grass,
and the shadows
are mauve birthmarks
on the hills.