Today involved some sleeping in before starting off the day with a fresh chocolate and coconut muffin from the Wee Shop at the main lodge. From there I spent some time relaxing around the hostel and walking through the rainforest to the beach. I managed to get a ride to the Pancake Rocks after missing out on the opportunity to get picked up and avoid the long hot walk to their bungalow in the middle of nowhere. I had some time before the bus would pick me up and take me to Nelson, where I hoped to launch a hiking trip through Abel Tasman National Park, a beach laden park and coastal trail adored by the many travelers I have met thus far. In the spare hours before my eventual departure, I occupied my time with the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. As much of a bore it could be to many, I watched the waves crash into the rocks at high tide hoping to catch a glimpse of the infamous blowholes. The waves had eaten away at the rocks quite a bit over time forming tunnels, oval shaped rings in the rocks, and columns standing solitary and randomly away from the rest. At its most potent, the continuous rush of waves forced enough pressure into the caverns and gaps within the rocks to bust through the blowholes and create a jetting mist of water vapor. The event did not occur often but patience was rewarded. I am still amazed by the mysterious nature of the rocks. The bus left what little mountains in sight behind as I continued northward. The city of Nelson lies near the sea and beach but offers little to those in search of nature; it is like any other city, no more no less. I shopped and tried to find a way to hike the Abel Tasman walk but most of the camp sites had been booked so I was lost as to what to do. The next day I met a Brazilian willing to help me plan my hike in Abel Tasman. He had done three nights worth of the walk and I seemed to be able to find a tent situation that may work into my favor. The locations of the campsites were not ideal but for the limited spots available during this busy holiday season it might actually work out. I met a German friend of theirs that was trying to do the walk as well and I thought why not invite him along. I waited to book my campsites for him to get his situation under wraps and when he finally was able to commit to the hike my plan had blew up in my face. The long planned trip that I had looked forward to taking would be no more. I was stressed and pissed. I had come to Nelson for nothing! I had to get away before I exploded. All I kept thinking about was how I wished I had booked the hike and not waited. Plus, I longed to be back in the mountains to the land that drew me to New Zealand in the first place. With a friend I met on the bus and in the dorm room, I headed to a bar once used as a church. It looked very much like a small chapel with the bar counter right where the altar once stood. The beers and escape from the situation helped lightened my mood. At another bar where we shared a jug just outside, we chatted it up for a while wondering where everyone was on a Saturday. Out of the corner of my eye, a piece of paper began flittering in the wind tumbling over itself along the sidewalk. After giving it a second look, I realized it was some kind of money. In a tipsy state rushing to pursue the fleeing currency, I knocked over an ash tray and ran over to it. I snatched up the crisp paper and found in the palm of my hands a $50 Kiwi note. Quite excited about the best find I have stumbled across on the streets, I planned on buying a nice meal. Sure enough, I ended up eating the same crap I have been living off for the last couple weeks: bread, chickpeas, cheese, broccoli, carrots, and pasta sauce. Feeling bad, the German offered to drive to Abel Tasman for the day. I accepted his offer but I was worried whether I should be placing my faith in him. The day rolled into the next with me having no idea how to occupy my time; Nelson does not offer much as far as what I am interested in. I decided to jog over to the beach for a swim and try to make the most of the day. Having been sitting on my behind not doing much with the exception of the occasional short hike, I got winded quite quickly. Once at the beach, the fresh air, waves, and sand between my toes lifted my depleted and pessimistic state of mind. In pursuit of a good cardio, I jogged up and down the length of the beach on the freshly wet sand. Pounding my feet through the sinking sand, I felt as though I were trying to run through quicksand. As fast and purposeful as my lunges were, the distance surpassed was not worth bragging about. All in all, the feeling was so pure and natural trying to overcome the struggle of this unstable path. I swam for awhile to cool off and watched wind surfers forge their own paths along the choppy waters. Long stuck in the busyness of the city, I was finally released back into the wild and nestled up against Mother Nature’s beating heart. The long walk back to the hostel led to the same dinner plans I had grown sadly used to. While enjoying the same familiar taste, I talked with some people about the Hobbit movie I was about to see that night. The consensus was mixed but I knew I had to see one way or another. I watched the Hobbit in 3D and left disappointed. Besides the cool intro from the director and cast thanking all New Zealanders for their hospitality during the filming, the movie itself was good but half attempted in my opinion. Before I went to sleep in the tent I had bought for thirty dollars and on the thin mat I bought for ten dollars, I received a message from the German that the weather would be less than spectacular tomorrow. I wanted to just go anyways since the weather changing without notice so often in New Zealand but it wasn’t my decision to make. Sleeping on the foam mat and resting my head on my day pack, I struggled to find a comfortable position to sleep. This may not have been my brightest idea but I am trying to scrap by as cheaply as I can. The next day brought similar results. I went to the library with a girl I met a couple days prior in search of decent wifi reception. Finally, I got in contact with my sister after struggling to connect the past several days. Talking with my family while on the road definitely helps keep me the feelings of homesickness at bay. The rest of the day should involve some more planning and, probably if storms hold off, another jog on the beach and swim. After running to the mate I had drinks with, I think I might plan trips to Golden Bay for nicer beaches and easier access to the Kahurangi National Park.
Middle Earth Day 15-18: Stuck in Nelson