One of the cool things about trekking is meeting people on the way who you otherwise just might not cross paths with. One of the people I have spent time with over the last couple of days is M who is walking because she lost her husband to cancer and they had wanted to do the track together – this would have been their wedding anniversary.
Over breakfast this morning there was a couple celebrsating their wedding anniversary. M and they got to talking and soon worked out that not only had the person across the table worked with her husband, but he’d been at his funeral. The world can sometimes be a small place.
Today was a pretty easy day. It starts out downhill and the track was the smoothest we’ve seen. Four of us – my two uber-fit Amercians and my Marine room-mate – as always made the pace, held back only by the guide.
The best part of the walk was the view over the flat river valley. In spite of the fact that the forecast had threatened rain, it was a lovely day with vibrant green grass and trees in all directions. We had morning tea only about 45 minutes after setting off and lunch about an hour later.
By the time we stopped for lunch there were some clouds and it was a little chilly. Still we stopped by a pool and some rapids which was just delightful.
Finally it was a short walk back to the bus. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Routeburn in all ways, but right now my enduring momento comes thanks to the Horopitu leaf I tried right at the end. This leaf is a traditionl Maori spice but when you eat a leaf it’s like chomping down on a Fisherman’s Friend throat lozenge and now, three hours later, my tongue is still burning.