Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boot Camp Akaroa

Wednesday morning the cloud layer was down to about 300 metres so were chary of trying the new, higher Stony Peak Walk. Instead we did the previous day’s Round the Mountain Walk, but in reverse. It is much harder that way – and wet too, in these conditions. The last few kilometres are downhill on a sealed road, very steep, very little traffic. As we emerged from the cloud we discovered a beautiful sunny day, which stayed with us until nightfall. I don’t know the distance. I had become very suspicious about my pedometer.

Thursday morning, the first morning this week for which the forecasters had mentioned low cloud, of course there was none. The weather was brilliant and we set out at 7.30 for a combined Round the Mountain/Stony Peak Walks. Up the aforementioned road to “the cab stand” at 625 metres. My altimeter was functioning well, unlike the pedometer. I was getting distinctly warm and starting to liquidise when I looked at it and found that it believed I had walked 40 metres. My estimate was about 1 km (the liquidisation was because it was already a warm day and the track up from the campsite to the road was almost vertical – as the road is also). At the top of the hill the pedometer was so clearly wrong that a decision was made to get a new one as soon as possible.

We walked down to the Purple Peak Saddle at 590 metres. At this point, instead of the descent into Akaroa, the weather being fine, we opted for turning left onto the Stony Peak Walk. This was more of a climb – hands were definitely needed, as well as feet. The path was very overgrown, so with my crummy eyes I found it very difficult to see where it was. Eventually it got us to the peak at 785 metres, where Gay took the picture above.

The path down was much more civilised, swathes having been cut through acres of gorse bushes –cursed immigrants here – before meeting an unsealed road which took us all the way down into Akaroa centre for a welcome cup of tea, before climbing back up the murderous steps to the campsite. Even the corrupted pedometer had recorded 15 kms. The truth was probably nearer 20.

Our walks in Akaroa are very tough, which is why we refer to this as Boot Camp Akaroa. We normally get a week of such climbs in to get us going before we head off round New Zealand. This time we have managed four days here, 3 hard walk/climbs. Tomorrow we have quite a long drive down to Oamaru.

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