After saying au revoir to Camille, I sat out a cold rainy afternoon followed by a seriously icy wakeful night, excitedly getting up to a freezing but gorgeous morning. You often have to sacrifice comforts to have amazing experiences, and I was about to have another one! This is one of my happiest days ever, climbing over 1000m up the Mueller Hut track to the top of Mount Ollivier and meeting some delightful people, starting with an Austrian girl called Rikki.
Mount Sefton in the middle, Aoraki (or Aorangi: Mount Cook) to the far right.
Lake Pukaki in the distance, Aoraki village way down below.
Lunch and views from the top of Mount Ollivier, the first mountain Sir Edmund Hillary ‘climbed’, with my companions including a German who thought it would be good to repeatedly voice his doubt in my ability to get to the top just because I was enjoying taking it calm and steady… grrr! Only took me half an hour or so to stop defending myself in my head over that one though… I made it, and I got him to finally admit that maybe not everyone approaches things the same way. Ha!
The Hooker Valley and Glacier, with huge icebergs hundreds of metres wide.
Sealy Tarns with Aoraki in the reflection. Aoraki is named after a small boy in a maori legend, a name which has sometimes been ‘romantically’ (if aptly) interpreted to mean cloud-piercer, and it’s a sacred place, being the tallest mountain in New Zealand.
Some characters I met here included this guy playing Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah on the ukelele… 🙂
I was so reluctant to leave the views, but was about to be rewarded further: I walked to Kea Point for the sunset, heard avalanches under the dark sky, and had a great conversation with another German called Björn, including telling him about the stars and planets and the Magellanic Clouds, while he expertly photographed them. (Thanks Björn!)
To top it all off, on the way back to the campsite the torchlight found the shining eyes of a possum nonchalantly sniffing its way along the path. Next morning before I left this magical place, a lovely guy from San Francisco chatted to me about Cambodia. 🙂
When you find it in yourself to be brave, genuinely open and friendly to the world, it seems much more likely to be open and friendly back. It has all to do with you inside, and nothing to do with things external to you, though we often don’t want to admit that. Still I’m humbled. I hold onto days like this, when I can remember that I’m such a lucky person, I seem to get amazing views each time I visit somewhere like this, the sky is clear night and day and I’m treated to seeing the natural wonders of the world at their truly awesome best.