The worst place for a mobile to fall in

After a good breakfast of crumpets and Nutella with the whole family, Mark drops us in Wanaka. We're very happy of our stay here, that felt like a break, even if we took no zero day. We had great time with Mark's family, with fellow TA hikers, we had a WhatsApp with our families and with some friends, I went to the physio, repaired a second hole in my mattress and last but not least, we had an ice cream after lunch in Wanaka before we started hiking! 
The trail goes around the lake and we enjoy beautiful sights on the lake and the mountains that stand behind.
It's pretty windy and the trail goes up and down in the hills. But there's only 16 kilometers to hike till Glendhu Bay, where we booked a cabin for the night. It makes an easy day, perfect when we have to carry an heavier load because it's the first of a 5 days stretch.
Before starting to hike, we need to book a few stuff, like an accommodation in Queenstown, one in Arrowtown and a hut on the Tongariro circuit that we want to hike in April. We can't book the Oturere hut on Tongariro circuit because the system ask for our card reader machine that we don't have here. But we call Gabrielle from Frogs in New Zealand and she books it for us. It was the last 2 beds available! 
The trail to Fern Burn Hut isn't really long but it's not flat either. The good news is that when it goes up, we start enjoying a view. We arrive at the hut in the early afternoon and spend a nice time talking with 2 French that are going northbound. They give us a transport cards for Queenstown, that we'll reach in a few days.
The hut can fit 12 people but not everyone would have had a bed if one girl from a 4 members party had not made an allergic reaction. An helicopter comes to bring her to the hospital and her friends decide to hike down, even if it's obvious that they'll have to hike in the dark. As a result, everyone has a bed tonight.
Possums organised a party on the terrace last night around 4 AM. They were clearly running after each other and having fun. Good on them!
6:30 is the wake up time for fellow hikers, but it's too early for us. The sunrise is around 7:30 now... And we decided to stop at the next hut, 7 km far from here. Even if we have to climb a few hundred meters, it doesn't take us long to reach Highland Creek hut.
There is already another hiker there and we end up being 4, with Korbi. Marie-Laure met him some days ago at Stag Saddle and I met him for the first time at Pakituhi hut. He smiles all the time and he's a very pleasant companion of hut.
Friday 16th March. There are only 10 kilometers to Rose's hut, but we'll have to climb up and down 500 meters twice. We enjoy the landscape surrounding us. That's stunningly beautiful.
At Rose's hut, we are 5. Korbi and 2 hikers that are not on the Te Araroa. We are tired but we spend a nice evening together.
Today is Saturday. We'll have some challenges to undertake today. Some expected, some that are not. We know that we'll have to climb 500 meters and hike 26 kilometers. We know that we'll have to choose between hiking on a trail that goes up and down above the river or tramping in the river itself. We don't know that I'll have to deal with a mobile phone that fell down in the worst place possible.
When we reach the Arrow River, we decide to save time and to hike in it, instead of the up and downs of the trail. It's a common route and the river is at a normal level.
We have to cross it every 3 or 4 minutes. But is freezing cold! After a dozen crossings, our feet are numb with cold and we know that it will take us at least an hour and a half to reach Macetown. We grit our teeth.
And then... We meet 2 people, about 70 years old, with 2 dogs that are quite old. And they say "hey, good morning, lovely day isn't it? How are you doing?". That's kiwis. They are walking in a freezing cold river, their feet are completely wet, even the dogs are shaking. It's Saturday. Just another usual thing to do is hiking here, obviously. Not a big deal. After that, we just stop complaining about the cold water.
With Korbi
We reach Macetown at lunchtime. We Ford the river a last time and here we are back to the civilization. Well, nearly. There is a 4WD track, a pit toilet and a ghost town of 2 restored houses dating from the gold rush.
I go to the toilet and while I turn around to close the lid, I hear a "bang" inside. It takes me no time to understand that my phone is down there now, in the toilet, far from arm's reach.
Macetown 
I come out of the toilet and tell sheepishly to Marie-Laure what happened. No way I leave it there in the pit, with the SD card full of pictures and the sim cards. But how could I recover it?
After thinking about it a few minutes, I ask to Marie-Laure a supermarket plastic bag. I tie it to the tip of my hiking poles. I extend the hiking poles as much as possible. And I go fishing.
It's tricky. I can't get the mobile phone inside the bag. I need to improve the system. Marie-Laure comes to help me, with a headlamp and her own poles. She tries to push the phone in the plastic bag with the tip of her own hiking pole. After a few attempts, the phone is in the bag.
Now, it's an easy job. A bit disgusting but easy. I remove the phone from the bag, find another bag to pack the plastic bag full of smells (I'll get rid of it at the first dustbin we'll meet), and I clean the phone first with disinfectant and then with water. Now, I just have to let it dry and see if it still operates normally after that.
We can't stop laughing about this adventure, thinking about the pleasure it will be to explain it to the friends!
We reach Arrowtown in the afternoon. We already came here with Yves, Marie-Laure's father, 2 months and an half ago. Good memories...
We settle in a cabin at the motor camp for a well deserved rest.
Marie-Laure posts on Facebook and we get some news of our Scottish friend Mike. He is very close from here, in Queenstown, and we decide to meet tomorrow morning.
Today, we'll reach Queenstown. We have a coffee and then a crêpe with Mike. It's so good to see him again! We had spent good time with him on the Whanganui River and we are happy to exchange news. He takes both our backpacks in his car, as he is staying in the same camping as us tonight.
We hike to Queenstown and keep talking about our plans for the next days. The weather won't be good, so we consider renting a car. We end up booking a small and cheap car for 3 days. It will allow us to go to Milford village for the cruise we booked without problem. Definitely easier than having to hitchhike!
By the time our car is booked, we discover that we are on the wrong way. Never mind, we can reach the town by this way also. We even find some Te Araroa markers: the trail was probably here before.
We eventually reach the camping and enjoy a nice evening with Mike and one of his friend. The sun is shining and we eat together on the terrace : a lovely way to finish this section!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 months and 4 days later... reaching Bluff

The tourists in us : Dunedin and Milford Sound

Last mountains before Bluff