Plan C was for James to drop me off at Mistletoe Bay where I would follow a track for about 4 hours to a town called Anakiwa. Someone there would pick me up. A beautiful hike was perfect for me today. And I was actually really looking forward to some alone time. Just me on the trail working shit out in my head. Meditating. Enjoying nature. Enjoying some silence. This hike by myself was the perfect Plan C.
Marleen: My back can’t take that kayak again either, I’m coming with you.
Me: OH THANK GOD!
Marleen lives in Colorado. When she’s not mountain biking or skiing with her grandkids she’s volunteering at a Colorado national park taking out hikers. Marleen is a badass granny. My perfect hiking partner.
“I hope you don’t mind that I like to go slow up hills and take breaks to appreciate the journey.” She told me. She just got more perfecter.
James picked us up this morning to take us on a 40 minute drive to our hiking track. Borut was a bit bummed that he lost both me and Marleen to kayak with.
“You know I’m going to see whales today” he said snarkily.
“An orca is going to jump over my kayak and I’m going to fucking FEED it!”
I said, “Borut, if I see you riding in at the end of the day on an orca, I’ll have to kill you.”
James told us that he and Borut were on a mission for mussels today. There are green lipped mussels across the sound that are supposed to be delicious.
“But it may be too windy today, not sure if we will be able to cross easily” James said.
“Oh suck it up and put in a little effort will you? Just paddle harder, jeez!” I told them. How hard can it be for them, two strong men with perfect backs? I’m very good at giving others orders when I myself don’t have to do the work.
We have been traveling in Ernie through the mountains quite a bit on this trip so far and I’m proud to say, I’ve handled these roads like a champ. But today’s road takes the cake for being the windiest road I’ve ever been on. I sat close to the front. I looked straight ahead. I was doing alright until James said,”I hope everyone’s doing ok because this road is about to get super windy.” “Pull over!” I barely made out.
Soon after, Marleen and I were dumped out of the van and we made our way to the Queen Charlotte Track.
The trail was stunning and had just the right amount of hills. Nothing gnarly, but still a great workout.
Marlene is an avid gardener and insisted I take a photo of these:
The vistas were absolutely incredible:
We had packed sandwiches at Steve and Linda’s in the morning that were quickly approaching the four hour rule. I had asked Linda where the cooler was and was told that the food will be fine without one. I have a Food Handler’s Safety license and know that after four hours, it’s time to throw food away. And it was really hot out. 30-something degrees Celsius whatever that means. Plus I was getting hungry having hurled up my morning muesli earlier. TMI? See why I need Hubby here to edit?
At lunch I learned how Marleen met Pat, her significant other of ten years. This story is incredible and I have to share it.
One sunny winter day Marleen took her two Boxers out to do a long Colorado hike. After hours of walking, she realized she was lost. Now the weather was turning and it started to snow. It was getting dark. She remembered seeing a cabin around somewhere with a road close by. The more she walked, the colder it got. The more it snowed, the less she could see her landmarks. She finally looked up and realized she had made a complete circle. Marleen, you see, was living The Blair Witch Project. Now her two dogs were shivering and she was up to her waist in snow. Her breathing was labored and she was literally freezing to death in her sweat-soaked clothes. She just stopped in her tracks and cried. She prayed to God to help her get out of this alive. After a good hard cry she put on her Big Girl panties and kept going. And there was the cabin, just up ahead! Being a summer home, no one was there but by some miracle a back door was unlocked. She went in, quickly grabbed blankets off beds and found a coat in the closet. She took off her wet shirts and put on the dry coat. She had to get herself and these dogs warm.
She had a little bit of garlic hummus and crackers left in her pack that she shared with her hungry pooches. Then she lied down on the sofa and covered all three of them with a blanket. And stayed that way until the garlic humus did its job on the dogs. Marleen admits that she almost chose the bitter outdoors over staying alive under that blanket with the dog farts.
The next morning Search and Rescue entered the cabin and found Marleen and the dogs (insert slasher music) facing the corner! No.
The next morning Marleen Macgyvered a blanket by cutting it in half, making foot holes and wrapping a blanket around and around each dog then securing it with twine. These short haired Boxers weren’t going to make it the 8 miles home without blankets. But before she left she wrote a note explaining her situation, apologizing for borrowing the blanket and coat and left her name, number and address.
A few months later Marleen received a phone call. The woman on the other end was absolutely LIVID.
” How dare you break into my cabin and take the blanket and coat!”
“Well” started Marleen slowly ” It was a life or death situation.”
“Did you steal anything?!” screamed the lady.
“If I were going to steal something why would I leave you my contact information?”
“I’m sending over my forman to pick up the coat and blanket and them I’m going to SUE YOU!” she yelled.
“Go right ahead”.
A few weeks later the foreman showed up for the (clean) jacket and (brand new) blanket. His name was Pat.
“I can’t believe you almost died out there!” I said.
“I know, the cabin saved me. The other time I got lost out in the snow I was hovering in between some boulders until Search and Rescue came. And another time I got lost in the snow I had to take shelter inside a log until Search and Rescue got me.” Good thing this hiking trail was a straight shot because I just lost all faith in my “badass” hiking partner.
After hours of hiking, we arrived in the “town” called Anakiwa. My phone app says we did 8.2 miles but Marlene’s pedometer read 9.4. We are going with 9.4. What a truly spectacular day this was!
Now I’m back at our room, showered and….
I’m goin’ to the hot tub cuz I’m
Feelin’ so waaary
Headin’ to the hot tub
(The hot tub is up a big hill that the house is built against)
Hubby would SO edit this part out if he were here!
It turns out that there were no orcas today but SCORE on green lipped mussels! Linda invited us outside for some wine and “snakes” (snacks). Linda steamed the mussels for just four minutes and suggested we have them with lemon and cracked pepper.
These mussels tasted nothing and I mean nothing like any I’ve ever had before. I don’t even really like the tough little mussels I’ve eaten back home. These were so tender, juicy and fresh. Paired with the crisp, delicious New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Borut found at the market, these mussels might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. EVER!
With a belly full of mussels, plus another feast from Linda, I’m off to bed where I have not ONE, not TWO, not THREE but FOUR pillows in my fluffy bed. Not wishing I was in a stinky freezing hut right now at all. I’ve named the fourth pillow “Steve” because I miss him.
New words for today:
Boy races- teens drag racing
“She plays bowls”- she goes bowling
Tramping- hiking and backpacking
By New Zealand law any person who is hungry is allowed to take a lamb off a farm to eat. They just simply have to leave the skin on the fence.
Steps today: 22,405