Ed Hatch, Erin’s dad, coined this phrase, “Indecision is the key to flexibility.” This has come to mind in our travels around New Zealand as we haven’t booked much in advance and have really just flown by the seat of our pants. Our indecision, or lack of planning, came in handy this week. After drying out from the Queen Charlotte we headed on to Nelson for a couple of days rest before getting on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track (the third in our tour of NZ Great Walks). We started off the day thinking we would check out the information center, figure out the coming weather, post some blogs (like the three you got yesterday), watch a movie, and just relax. There was going to be no hiking or really any other semi-strenuous activity. Basically we were considering it a lazy Saturday, even though it was a Tuesday.
We arrived at the i-Site (the NZ information center in every town) to discover that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the weather forecast was great. Sun, blue sky, temperatures in the low to mid 60s. Just right for hiking. The forecast for Friday and beyond was rain, rain, and more rain. A big storm was heading this way. After the Queen Charlotte we wanted to try to avoid camping in the rain, as much fun as it is. We knew we had a short window and had to make a decision quick. Once we found out the last water taxi left at 1:30pm (it was 10:30am at the time) we knew our choices were a) wait until Wednesday and try to do a 51km hike (about 31 miles) in two days or b) bust our butts to make our reservations, get food, pick up some camping supplies, drive 56km to the boat launch, pack our backpacks, and eat lunch. With a little bit of convincing from John that it was actually possible, we went with option b. The next 2 1/2 hours (by the time we left the i-Site it was 11:00am) were referred to as “Tas-Mania” or as John would say, “good fun.”
Needless to say, we made it with seconds to spare and a few unnecessary items in our packs. In fact, the boat was loaded and nearly driving away and Erin had to ask the driver to stop because John getting our camera we had forgotton from the car and was running toward the boat. Good fun. Despite the mania and hustle, it was a great three night/four day hike and well worth the effort. Indecision really is the key to flexibility.
Highlights of the Abel Tasman:
– The golden honey colored sand and turquoise blue waters. You would have thought we were in the tropics! The water temperature was around 62 degrees which didn’t feel like the tropics.
– Spending two of our three nights camping on beaches with no one else around.
– Beautiful coastal views looking into bay after bay, mixed with the variety of the NZ bush.
– Walking through two tidal crossings that could only be passed through in a four hour window each day. We had to speed hike 6 miles to make the first tidal crossing by 10:30am.
– Swimming (or rather, running in, diving down, coming up for air, and running back out) in the water.
– Setting an alarm for 1am so we could get up and see the stars (can you pick out the Southern Cross in this picture?) and then re-setting the alarm for 5:30am to watch the sunrise and then going back to bed until 8am.
– Toilets in the woods that flush. Not the long drop toilets, real flushing toilets!
– Coming off the walk on Friday (it wasn’t raining but the temperature had dropped and weather was definitely coming in) and enjoying a hot shower and a pizza.
We really are going to take the weekend to catch up on internet stuff; we are getting the “Saturday” we had tried for five days ago. John already has plans for pancakes, eggs, bacon, orange juice, and tea tomorrow morning–a break from our usual oatmeal and fruit. Of course, we’ll wait until tomorrow to decide =).