Heaphy Track Day #3: The Hamster and His Four Wives

Monday, February 3, 2014

Start time: 9am
Arrived at Heaphy Hut at 4:30pm
Distance: 21.5 kilometers (13.4 miles)
Weather: Sunny

I figure you would like a logical explanation for the title. Allow me to explain. One day one, we could tell Cornelius was deep in thought. Every once in a while I could hear him kind of mumble some sort of a tune to himself, then randomly ask for a translation. “What do you call the heavy car that makes roads?” “Um… a steam roller?” More intent Cornelius thinking. “Katharina, what’s the English word for eichlemgskqukdhf?” “The closest thing would be a stamp collector.” At this point, I am seriously starting to wonder what’s going through this boy’s head. More intent Cornelius thinking. A few minutes go by, or half a dozen kilometers in the rainforest later, and out of nowhere, we suddenly hear a blast of energy coming out of him with “Once there was a hamster!…” and he starts singing some German translated song about a hamster, monogamy, a steam roller and a stamp collector. It was pure brilliance. I was literally busting at the seams part because I was so shocked to see this kid so proudly singing and part because it was the most absurd song I have ever heard in my life. It was pure brilliance. So to title this blog “The Hamster and His Four Wives” is perfectly appropriate. Not only is it a line from his little ditty, but by this time on the Heaphy, we had accumulated two other girls to hike along with us.

The James Mackay Hut was quite dated and “cozy” to say the least. Trampers did not have the luxury of sleeping in a personal bunk here, and the three of us shared a “bed” orphanage style with three little mattresses lined up one beside the other. Lucky for us we had become very close friends by now. Otherwise it would have been pretty awkward to have to sleep next to some dude you had never met before and just pray that he is not going to read “50 Shades of Grey” before bed and thrash around in his sleep.

The first half of our walk today took us through three more solid hours in the rainforest that was about 50 shades of green. The highlight here for me was crossing paths with the three Germans we were swapping cars with and successfully switching our car keys. Not only did this save us $130 in return transportation each, but it would have been a very long walk back to Katharina’s car. We reached the Lewis Hut at high noon, and treated ourselves to a two hour lunch break complete with a half hour nap. After we recharged, we crossed a huge suspension bridge over the Heaphy River and entered another rainforest, this one more tropical with exotic palm trees and a path alongside the river.

We could feel we were approaching the coast, and it wasn’t long until we reached the Heaphy Hut before the most amazingly isolated beach you could imagine. This location alone was worth hiking for two days. For my last dinner of spaghetti and instant tomato soup sauce (which actually tasted much better than I expected) I decided to over indulge on cheese since Katharina had been lugging around half a kilo of Edam for the past three days. I thought I would be a good friend and try to eat some of the weight off her back. In hindsight, I think I over indulged a little bit too much. Just before sunset, the group of us strolled down to the beach to enjoy the sunset and close out another great day on the Heaphy.

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