6 March, 2015 – Motueka to Hokitika
Wind gusting, wipers wiping, downed branches on the road. One lane bridges crossing torments of brown water. Quite a change in weather from yesterday.
I skipped an anticipated waterfall detour and didn’t get to the pancake rocks in Punakaiki because one of the roads to the coast was closed due to slides (another commonality with California: mud slides after heavy rain). It took almost five hours to get to Hokitika and it rained continuously, sometimes light, sometimes deluge. The rain stopped as I was eating my lunch, in the car, overlooking the beach. The local artists have had a great time with driftwood.
After lunch, I strolled through town, and then drove up to Hokitika Gorge. Instead of the beautiful blue water seen in photographs, the river was grey, filled with sentiment after the recent rain.
I drove back to town, made my daily trip to the supermarket, posted a blog entry, and read a bit. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, is a historical novel / murder mystery set here in Hokitika during the gold rush. It’s a good thing I’m reading it on my Kindle; had I realized how long it is, I probably wouldn’t have started.
7 March – Fox Glacier
Given the forecast, downpour followed by showers, I took my time getting ready this morning. I did a bit of online research and finalized a few trip details. It was raining when I headed south, following a grey path through green walls. It was quite meditative with little traffic. As the sky cleared, details emerged and the walls became ferns backed by a variety of leafy trees. By the time I reached Fox Glacier a couple hours later, it was barely drizzling and the sun was emerging.
I had lunch at a café near Lake Matheson and then took the hour and a half track around the lake. Ooh la la, this was nice, lush foliage with flowing water and occasional vistas overlooking the lake with the mountains reflected. Clouds obscured the peaks (Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook) much of the time, but it was still beautiful.
I then drove just south of town to Glacier Vista Road. High water has blocked access to the trail leading to the foot of Fox Glacier, so I settled for a glimpse in the distance beneath the clouds.
When I woke, the sky was clear, not a cloud in sight. And as I was heading out of town, sun was just starting to hit the peaks. Now, I’m off to Queenstown.