This last weekend, I made an epic three-day trip to the West Coast with three of my friends to check out Hokitika’s Wild Foods Festival. For the trip, I was riding alongside our intrepid pilot Eric Barefoot, the ever-sassy Emily DiPadova, and our resident sci-fi expert Hannah Walcek. The four of us left early Friday morning to catch a bus out to where we were picking up our rental car. However, when we arrived at the rental shop, we found out that we actually needed to be at the airport to pick up our car. Fortunately, one of the guys there offered to give us a ride to the airport. We sped out towards the tarmac, grabbed our four-door chariot, and headed off on our weekend adventure. It didn’t take us long before the real adventure began. Before we had left the airport, we had accidentally popped the hood when we were opening the trunk. In all of the excitement, no one remembered to close the hood and we left on our merry way without a clue. As we were speeding down Highway 73, Eric noticed the hood starting to fly up towards him and, barely missing a trash can along the way, swerved to the side of the road before the hood popped loose. With our hood fixed and our hearts still in our mouths, we continued on towards our destination.
After a couple hours, we reached the foothills of the Southern Alps and began the slow climb through Porter’s Pass. Along the way, I looked out the window and pointed out a mountain that seemed like it was worth climbing. The rest of the crew was more than willing to climb up this huge mountain so we piled out of the car, grabbed some lunch supplies, and hit the slopes. Eric and I quickly got ahead of Hannah and DiPav and we agreed to go the rest of the way in pairs. The trek to the summit took us about an hour and a half but was definitely worth the time and effort. From the peak we stood on (Foggy Peak), we had nearly 360 degree visibility of the area surrounding us. To the east, the flat plains of Christchurch and the rest of Canterbury spanned out to the limit of our vision. To the west, more mountains and an enormous, navy blue lake jutted out of the landscape towards us. It was truly breathtaking. We sat at the peak for a solid 15 minutes and took in the views around us before heading back down the mountain to join up with Hannah and DiPav, who had stopped short of the summit.
Having gotten our share of hiking for the moment, we drove further west through Arthur’s Pass and out the other side into Hokitika. Things didn’t look too promising as we reached the West Coast. As soon as we left the pass, clouds began to surround us on all sides and rain began to fall around us. It was already past 5 by now and we still needed to find a campsite. Luckily for us, New Zealand permits camping anywhere that is not private property or that has a “No Camping” sign listed. We hunted around for about an hour before finding a gorgeous spot near a lake outside of town. The site we found was a large clearing filled with tall, grass and encircled by these gargantuan ferns and tropical plants and trees. We picked a small patch underneath some of the trees and pitched our tents there. After a long day of hiking and travel, we made a quick dinner and went to bed soon after. Of course, we knew there was still plenty of adventure yet to come…
Here are a couple Google photos to show the views we saw. I’ll have some of our own photos up as soon as I can get my hands on Eric’s camera.
See ya Space Cowboy