This week we left early Thursday afternoon, for a six hour drive up north to Copeland Track. As soon as we set up our tents it began to pour, so we didn’t have a chance to do much that night. It rained so hard that most of us didn’t sleep more than an hour or so throughout the night. But we woke up and packed up our tents, while the rain continued to pour. Our friend emma convinced me to buy these rain pants earlier on the semester, and while they’ve mostly just taken up precious room in my pack each weekend they finally came in handy.
We began our trek up to the Welcome hut around eleven, and quickly realized that we seriously underestimated the rain. From stretches of 15 feet that were so muddy they felt like quicksand, to raging rivers to cross, we all agreed it was the most intense hiking we’ve done so far. Within thirty minutes of starting the hike, there wasn’t an inch of any of us that was dry. About four hours into the hike we reached an especially treacherous raging waterfall. The two woofers in the group, Luke and Dave, set out to see if there was any reasonable way to cross it, while the rest of us shivered. To keep spirits up, we broke into our chocolate supply and did a little bit of confessionals. Find mine and Laura’s here.
Dave came back up to the rest of the group and explained that there were essentially two big falls to cross. One was moving very quickly and forcefully, but was reasonably shallow. The other was about 2 feet high, but not moving too quickly. The boys spread themselves out to offer hands whenever necessary, and grabbed the packs off of some of our more clumsy friends and brought them across. It was by far the most stressful moment of the hike, with raging water in every direction and each rock more slippery than the next, but we all got through just fine.
It continued to pour the rest of the way up, and we trudged along, jumping over streams every fifteen minutes or so. We did continued our “confessional” type interviews to keep things lively, while Max and Dave brainstormed spirit animals for everyone. They revealed them later on that night. I was given a “baby rhino,” for my “big personality and feistiness,” or something along those lines.
Spritis began to sink as the end started to feel further and further, and by the time we finally were sure we were there we saw another 30 minutes to go sign. We trudged along and as soon as we arrived, the others greeted us in high spirits. We immediately sprinted to the natural hot springs, only a couple yards from the hut. They were absolutely steaming, and before we knew it the sky opened up to expose the mountains surrounding us, which were at this points surging with dozens of waterfalls. It literally felt like a fairytale. The perfect end to a tough day, wouldn’t it be nice it life always worked that way? Didn’t meant to rhyme there…
We were absolutely esctactic to find that we were the only ones staying in the 31 person hut that night, which was not exactly surprising considering the weather. We whipped up a delicious meal of burritos. We played dozens of different games, and one of our friends began a pretty interesting motage of close-ups of people eating. I’d include a picture but they’re a little gross.
The way down the next morning felt like a completely different hike, considering the lack of streams. We stopped and ate lunch on one of the bridges. Emma and I decided to get a bit create, and made chocolate peanut butter quesadillas. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t be gourmet!
On a (somewhat) academic note, I just returned from my Food and Consumers lab this afternoon, after whipping up a delicious vegetable quinoa salad. Shout out to Butter Beans for inspiring the recipe! Next week we start writing an article featuring the recipe, and begin photographing the food. Obviously my favorite part of the class is testing everyone else’s dishes – from a white chocolate lemon bar, to mango chicken kebabs, to a blackforest macaroon with rasberries, I never leave that class without beginning to resemble Veruca from Willy Wonka. The blueberry girl? You get the gist of it…
With exams and final assignments coming up, we’ve decided to stay in Dunedin this weekend with maybe one or two trips out to the beach. Might be another two weeks until the next post, so hopefully this one was sufficiently exciting! Keep an eye out for a video I’ll post in the next couple days, which will be ac opmliation of all of Max’s go-pro footage from the weekend.