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January 13 2024, Top Timaru Hut to Pakituhi Hut:
Lenses and I walked for a short while together, then separated for the rest of the day. I didn’t feel like talking or being in the presence of others, just one of those days that called for introspection. I thought I would make it to the bottom of the mountain today, but felt absolutely beat. I was grateful I at least started earlier and didn’t get hit with direct sunlight until the early afternoon.
I crossed and meandered through rivers then found some massive deer antlers that I had to talk myself out of taking. The views opened up just after Stodys Hut, revealing mountains scattered with healthy trees. Near the end of the day, I walked through a section that reminded me of Wyoming with its bare country roads. I was fully exposed between the dry brush, the wind howling so loud that all I could do was join it.
At the top of my lungs I yelled, “AWOOO!”
It was still early when I made it to the hut and I realistically could have pushed on to the road, but what was the rush? I met a day hiker from Invercargill who had come down from the pass because her fiancé had lost his phone, this being the fourth time she could recall. I decided to make food while she stared out the window in hopes of seeing him come down from Breast Hill. My dinner of choice was the usual white rice with butter and no salt. It was bland, but I was so hungry that it didn’t matter.
“This tastes like shit,” I said out loud. “I can’t wait to have real food again.”
That was when I accidentally yogi’d a meal. She had suddenly remembered that she was carrying a ham and cheese sandwich, fresh from a really good bakery. She had only taken two small bites and wasn’t going to eat the rest because it had mustard on it which apparently flared up her nostrils. Not sure what that meant, but I happily took it off her hands. I actually hated mustard but I was so hungry that it tasted like the most luxurious ham and cheese sandwich to have ever touched my tastebuds.
Lenses showed up, also feeling defeated from the day, especially from the wind we got hit with near the top. She laid down on the bench beside the table to catch her breath while I stood in front of her in my black undies and ate Nutella from the jar staring at a rainbow that appeared in front of a dark grey cloud.
She commented on how hungry she felt and said she was going to make dinner, but first wanted to go check out the view on top of the hill to take some photos.
“You’re fucking crazy,” I said, recalling how gnarly the wind was.
She agreed, then said she would be back soon. Over two hours went by and I couldn’t go to bed as I was feeling worried. I walked up the hill to look for her and found her standing there, soaking up the scene.
“Lenses, what the fuck?!” I exclaimed, “I thought you died! I thought the wind pushed you off the mountain!”
“Oh, sowwy,” she said. “I am alive.”
I was suddenly taken aback by the view, in understanding of why she was up there for so long. It was magical and I was so happy I went looking for her just so I could see it. There was a clear view of Lake Hawea and the town of Wanaka in the near distance. Patches of land colored the landscape with roads that followed the length of the lake. Tomorrow would be raining from very early on so we might not have even been able to experience such a breathtaking view.