Was I crazy? I asked a lady at the backpacker what the weather forecast was supposed to be for the day and the answer I got was “cloudy and rainy…for the next week…” That was the unfortunate news I was expecting because I had been checking the weather daily for the past couple of days. I was hoping it had magically changed to sun and cloudless skies. No such luck.
My original plan for the day was to hike Roy’s Peak. I had traveled to Wanaka for the second time, wanting to do the same hike that I had planned to do once before. The last time I was here I had to forego the hike because of terrible weather conditions. This was my last chance, probably ever, to do it. Should I just take this as a sign that it was not meant to be, give up, and move on? If I was going to be hiking in a giant cloud all day it would not be worth it anyway.
I decided to go for it. Why not. It was what I went there to do.
I started off by walking straight into a cloud. If you haven’t had that experience, it is not all that exciting. Basically, all you can see is white all around you. I could maybe see the landscape 20 feet in front of me, and from that point onward everything looked white. If you would have told me there were mountains beyond the white wall, I would not have believed you. Even with the dismal weather, I decided to stick with a positive attitude. At least I would get to see the native bush up close as I walked. That could be cool too. I even ended up getting to see some really neat birds.
However, after about an hour of climbing I began to walk above the clouds. Oh, what a sight! Even the small amount of blue sky I saw at first lifted my spirits. Since I was now above a layer of clouds I felt like I was walking at the same altitude that planes fly at (even though my mind was playing tricks because actually the clouds were just hanging quite low).
Having the clouds surrounding me and blocking out the views at first was a blessing in disguise because it really made me take in and not take for granted what I was seeing once they cleared.
After three hours of walking up a non-stop, uphill-slanted track, breathing in the fresh mountain air, enjoying the fabulous mountains surrounding me on all sides, walking along the trail with some cows right by my side, but not another human in sight, and making a snowman, I made it to the very tip top. Just in time for lunch. It was a surreal lunchtime experience.
(My view during lunch)
I had told my Grandma that I would meet up with her four hours after I began. Most people do the hike in 6-7 hours, but for some reason I thought it would not be too hard to get done in four. I was about halfway back down when I decided to stop to have a snack. I whipped my backpack off of my back and to my horror I found my backpack had come unzipped. I am still befuddled has to how it happened because I had not opened that pocket all day. Yet, there it was, totally open. And my wallet and phone were no longer there. Shoot. “Aw man, this is not good!” is all I could keep thinking. I only had one choice but to hike back up the steep slope. But my Grandma would be waiting. I had to make it back down in four hours because I did not want her to worry. After quickly scouring the ground, I had no luck in finding either my wallet or phone. Dense tussock was on either side of the track and if either my wallet or phone bounced out of my backpack into the tall grass, there was no way I would find it. My last hope was that I misremembered putting it in my backpack, when actually it was sitting peacefully waiting for me in the car. Oh, please let that be the case!
It turns out that I actually made it back before my Grandma did, so instead of her worrying about me, I got to worry about her accidently driving on the right side (which here is the wrong side) of the road and getting into a car crash. When she finally arrived the first thought I had was, “Thank goodness, she is ok!” but then I instantly thought of my lost wallet. I jumped up and swiftly searched the car. No sign of either my wallet or phone. This was not good.
I decided to go to the police office in town to let them know I had lost my wallet and to give them contact information for if any kind hiker turned it in later that afternoon. Turns out Wanaka must not have crime or problems on the weekend because the office is closed. Wanaka must be a wonderful place to live!
So back to Rob Roy I went. Round two. Looks like I would get to hike this mountain twice after all. It’s a wonderful hike, and I would recommend it, but not twice in one day. My legs were definitely feeling it.
Looking on the bright side, the fog had now cleared off of the lake, so now I had beautiful views of the lake which I had not been able to see earlier.
There were only a few people doing the trail today, but as I passed each one, now coming back down the mountain, I asked if they had seen either a wallet or phone. None of them had. Since the sun sets around 5:30pm now I was running out of day light. I was also tired and sore. But, I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich to eat. At least that was delicious.
I met another couple making their way back down. I had basically started the hike in the morning with them and I knew they were planning on hiking to the summit. They were my last hope. Oh please let them have found it! The man reached into his coat and he pulled out my wallet! Hallelujah! I ran up and hugged him I was so happy. I guess this makes up for me finding a girl’s lost Iphone on a trail that she had lost two weeks prior to me finding it. Karma is not always bad.
My little blue new Zealand phone decided to have an adventure of its own. It must have gone careening off into the tussock. Maybe it wanted to spend more time playing in the snow or maybe the views of the mountains were what it wanted to spend the rest of its little life looking at instead of the inside of my pocket or backpack. Totally understandable.
What a day! You could say I was relieved, exhausted, and thankful by the end of it.