Day 169, January 24th
Today we break tradition! Okay, tradition is a strong word, but there are no extremely long/hard mountain hikes in the Blenheim area, so we decide to do the closest thing we could find, what is described as “The flattest hike in all of New Zealand.” We’ve been promised before “easy” or “flat” hikes, and normally race to the conclusion that it’ll be like Houston. We’ll be traipsing around on ideal, level ground. Houston ain’t got no time for silly nuances like hills, it’s got business to conduct and money to make, flat lands only! Apparently “flat” and “easy” are relative truths. New Zealand is a pair of little islands that have jutted out of the abyss of the ocean thanks to two of the earth’s plates crashing into each other. This means mountains, hills, volcanoes, crags, canyons, and everything in between, except for large tracts of flat lands (the Canterbury Plains are the biggest exception to this). Could this be the walk that is comparable to our childhood city? Are we about to embark on the easiest walk we’ve been on in our time here?
This walk exists thanks to the failed scuttling of the S.S. Waverly. There is a large loop that takes you on a lovely jaunt through boring swampland until you reach the iron remains of the old ship. Did we say boring? Yes, and we mean it. The view you have in the first ten minutes of the walk is the same view you have for the next two hours and fifty minutes. The paths leading to the shipwreck march through swampland. The swamp exists, but the path traverses mostly dry areas, where there is still water the DoC have built boardwalks that lift you about two feet above the regular path level. Unfortunately, the small gain is height isn’t enough to make any difference in visibility. All around us we are surrounded by mountains in the far off distance, but more immediately is the tall golden grass. Every direction you turn there is more of this grass. It would make for some good composition in pictures, but since you never gain any height the camera can’t pierce more than five feet into the grass. Thus we are left alone with our thoughts and each others company. Oh! There are spiders too! Big ol’ fat ones! They kept us company!
We eventually make it to the shipwreck only to be slightly disappointed. The tide is in so we can’t climb onto it! Well, Jonathan is disappointed anyway, Amelia could care less. Over our time here he has developed a fondness for climbing on shipwrecks. All we can do is stand on the single picnic table to try and get a little higher up for our pictures:
Here is where we “turn back” on the loop. Supposedly this was the halfway point, but we both disagree with that assessment, we are certainly on the shorter leg now. We soon return to the beginning of the loop where the map-less map-board stands neglected and the path leads us unassumingly back to our Pinata. The trail lives up to its title, it truly is the flattest walk you could possibly find in New Zealand. It also serves as a reminder as to why we thought walking in Houston was so boring! At least we got to see a flower: