Day 2 Kepler Trail

Something i forgot to tell you earlier was a little story that occurred on the way to Manapouri a few days ago. We were all admiring the lake on the way out of Queenstown, when Karla asked if they got whales often?



In an inland lake.

Dave insisted on including this story, and another one where Karla popped up and decided to go look for Kiwi’s at lunchtime (they’re nocturnal). She didn’t really live either of these one’s down, especially when this morning happened…!!

So this morning everyone in the common kitchen was grumbling about the “jerkface” who’s alarm went off before dawn, waking the entire 40 sleeping tenants of the hut… then we discovered it was Karla! She was mortified, she described the sound of Rod sighing as he was rudely awoken by her alarm, her face beet red and her hands covering it; her phone is usually on silent but this morning it was NOT!!

There’s been a long running joke at IntoYou that we only hire blonde, female personal trainers. Karla was apparently our first brunette, but now i am not so sure!! Anyway, Dave will be bringing an extra coffee for Karla to his training session on Friday, hoping to ameliorate her resentment and enjoy a session at the usual intensity (i don’t see that being likely Dave!!!).

It wasn’t the only time we broke hut-etiquette this morning. As we were finishing our packing (at 8am, mind you, not obnoxiously early), another tenant sat up and asked us to talk outside… oops. We were out the door and taking photos a bit after 8am, and we all enjoyed one of Cindi’s team hugs!!

Dave has brought along 4 radio’s which we have been using for communication. This is a change from the previous 11 years of gym trips where Clare would support the rear end of the group, dash up the front when it was time to stop or something happened, then dash back to the rear to bring them up to speed! It was positively luxurious until Justine decided to give us a lesson in how to use the radio’s properly. Worse still, i couldn’t remember the lessons as well as i could remember what i wasn’t supposed to do – so ended up doing the radio wrong and deliberately poking the Juzzy-bear with my mis-management!! It was just the first in many times we heard muttered “i’m sick of these amateurs” over her confiscated radio (i am sure she wished she could confiscate them all!!).

Jen has been coming on these trips for 11 years, she was on our very first cycle around Samoa (you can read about those adventures here!) and was monikered “Amazing Jen” by Kass during our first trip in Nepal (you can read about that adventure here). Jen has lived up to her name spectacularly, carrying one of the lightest packs, then whipping out a mint slice to enjoy with her cup of tea, and a mattress when she didn’t want to sleep on the plastic ones provided by the huts… AMAZING Jen and her Mary-Poppins bag were true to form this year as well!

Today’s hike started with a slippery trudge through ice and snow along the tips of Mount Luxmore. We found our first survival hut (didn’t need it), cued up for our first toilet since yesterday morning  (not including the hut), and suffered through FOUR HOURS OF STEEP DOWNHILL hiking. To pass the time, Kass was looking for heart shaped rocks and lakes and natural features, but we still spent 8hrs with our 15kg packs on our backs, and it hurt a lot.

However today was also the day that most of us found our favourite section of the whole trail… the ridgeline. The ridgeline was several kilometres along a knife’s edge of a mountain’s peak. Spectacular views down both sides. We lunched there, threw snowballs, and generally had a marvellous time before embarking on the much more serious business of absorbing our bodyweight (and that of the pack) in the down hill section. There was over 300 switchbacks to get down to Iris Burn, our next night’s accommodation, and without exaggeration, it took the team between 3 and 4 hours.


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A post shared by Clare Hozack (@hozackc)

I have got to mention, that even though the downhill today was interminable, it was also another equally lush and diverse forest, only this time it was Beech trees! The different ferns, mosses, funghi and other growths made you feel like you were walking with the fairies. Or dinosaurs. Or Bilbo Baggins (depending on which group you were walking with).

The minute we got in to the hut, Karla and Clare headed off for a swim in the river. They had it to themselves so took of everything except their undies and had a wash. The water was so cold their feet went numb before they could get their bodies in, but it was G L O R I O U S just the same to get the dust and grime off their bodies.

Ali and Justine shared food on this trip. Justine did the cooking wrong for the second time tonight, adding too much water and generally making a mess of a dehydrated meal! Ali was very exacting in her standards, which haven’t been met yet, and watching their banter has been a lot of fun. I daresay Ali will be cooking tomorrow though!

Despite Cindi being as bruised and sore as the rest of us, she went around and offered everyone who wanted one a neck massage. What a legend. Cindi is definitely the most tactile of the lot of us, frequently going in for hugs and cuddles and massages, even when she’s half dead on her feet herself.

Poor ol’ dad (Clare’s dad) keeps getting married off to women who are not Clare’s mum. This morning someone asked Cindi if he was her husband, this afternoon another hiker asked Karla… no-one tell my mum. She will hunt them down. She will find them, and she will do something awful to them i am sure!

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