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Ellen McCallie's Diary

Days 18, 19 & 20: Rest Days

Photo: forest landscapeSo how did I end up in Wanaka? I was supposed to go on the Milford Sound trip, but the drive times we were being quoted just got longer and longer. On a four-day break, I didn't want to drive for two days, especially when all the driving has to be done during the day and very defensively. So, the night before we left I had changed my mind. I figured I bounce around the extended Franz Josef area and use public transportation. I had packed my bag for a day hike to Robert's Point when I saw evidence that the Wanaka group was just preparing to leave. "Easy ride to Wanaka, four hours away. Then I'd work myself back." Kathy, Derek, John and Pippa welcomed me and said I could stay the whole time. I didn't want to barge in on their trip, even though most people had grouped up based on interest in going to a locale. In any case, Derek said if I stayed his total share of the living accommodations would be less, so I should stay. That was all the convincing I needed. Fabulous trip!

In any case, we belly-laughed for four days. Thank goodness we split up during the day, usually Kathy and Pippa on ski slopes, Derek and John in the beginning ski area and I was off somewhere on foot.

I hiked up Mount Roy one day. The birding was great. The third day I had planned to fly to Milford Sound, but it was cloudy, so Pippa and I walked along the lake for an hour or so.

Thanks to careful driving by John and Pippa, we are back safely and have met the others in Franz Josef. It is raining and raining and raining. My laundry, which was standing on its own yesterday, is now on its way to being clean and dry. We have today off, but what to do in the rain but type into a computer or perhaps read a book?

Incredible four days off — many thanks to Derek, John, Kathy and Pippa for allowing me to join their adventure! Couldn't have laughed more! (Even the wait-staff at restaurants said they'd never seen a group that laughed so much and seemed so happy. Good, clean fun!)

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Photo: Ellen McCallie
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